18 Jul Special of the day: Bobby Flay
Boyish good looks, a great sense of humor and a generous dose of humility: it’s the recipe for wildly popular celebrity chef Bobby Flay, New York Times best-selling author, chef-owner of six restaurants and Food Network television star.
Warmly welcoming us into his demonstration kitchen during the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen in June, Flay showed us how to make Skate with Smoked Chile Butter, Capers and Tarragon and Peach Crepes with Bourbon and Pecans.
He opened by telling us he was an only child and was always looking for someone to talk to and proceeded to host an interactive demo peppered with useful tips and tricks of the trade. It was apparent from the get-go that Flay loves not only cooking, but also teaching.
Showing us how to pan-fry skate (a mild white fish with a crab-like texture), Flay introduced us to Wonderflour (which has been steamed and dehydrated), his go-to dredging flour, which produces a wonderful crispy crust on the fish.
As far as oils are concerned, Flay uses canola oil to cook with and extra virgin olive oil to finish with on pastas, dressings and fish. Extra virgin olive oil is thick and vicious and burns quickly, so he doesn’t use it for cooking.
Flay emphasized the importance of letting the pan do its job in getting the fish crispy. “Let it cook,” he urged, about 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Just when the fish starts to brown, he told us, put a pat of butter under the fish to achieve the desired golden brown pan-fried crispiness. He then turns the heat down to let the fish cook just until opaque.
“Get all of your ingredients out in front of you,” Flay advised, offering another handy tip for the home cook which says time and sets you up for success in the kitchen.
Prepared ahead of time was his Smoked Chile Butter, a compound butter made by blending butter, chipotle puree, honey and salt and pepper in the food processor.
“Certain things makes more sense in a can,” Flay said, explaining that he normally buys canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes in the colder months and canned chipotles in adobo sauce instead of taking the extra time to make them himself.
Flay demonstrated a classic French technique: basics of a simple pan sauce for the fish. He first deglazed the pan with wine and reduced it, whisking in the cold Chile Butter, a little at a time until emulsified. He finished the sauce by adding capers, lemon juice, tarragon and salt and pepper, telling us to always taste it first to check the seasoning.
Adding herbs at the very end helps to retain freshness and flavor, Flay said, mentioning that this recipe would work with any white fish or chicken.
And then, it was on to dessert: Peach Crepes with Bourbon and Pecans, a nod to Flay’s favorite, Crepes Suzette. Flay’s interactive demo included inviting Robin, a member of the audience, up to make crepes with him.
“You always want to use a nonstick pan when making crepes,” Flay said. “Ladle the batter in the middle and swirl it around,” he said, “I like to cook one side to golden brown and the other just yellow.”
You can stack cooked crepes one on top of the other and freeze them, Flay said as he casually observed Robin trying her hand at making crepes, handling an audience participant just as adeptly as the food. “I don’t feel like an only child anymore,” he quipped.
Cooked crepes were folded in quarters and slid into the sauce made with butter, brown sugar, peaches and bourbon, then topped with vanilla ice cream and toasted pecans, which he sent Robin back to her seat with to share with her husband.
“I love teaching,” Flay said, smiling, as Robin left the stage, and it showed.
Take pleasure in another taste of the seven-week Celebrity Chef Series showcasing Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Michael Chiarello, Jacques Pépin and Susan Feniger with this week’s Special of the day: Bobby Flay and recipe for Crepes with Bourbon Peaches. Enjoy!
Crepes with Bourbon Peaches
Inspired by Bobby Flay’s Peach Crepes with Bourbon and Pecans recipe
(serves four to six)
Make the crepes:
Recipe by Sydne George
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter (cooled)
2 tablespoons bourbon
¾ cup corn starch
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
In a blender combine crepe ingredients in order.
Mix on high speed until well blended.
Heat a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.
Brush pan with melted butter.
Carefully pour about 2 tablespoons batter from the blender into the pan, swirling the pan around to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cook until the edges of the crepe begin to lightly brown, about 15 seconds.
Using a small table knife, lift an edge of the crepe so you can pick it up with both hands and carefully flip it.
Cook crepe on the other side for about 15 seconds.
Remove crepe from pan and fold in quarters.
Repeat with remaining batter.
Store crepes in layers separated by sheets of waxed paper in a covered refrigerator container until ready to serve.
(Can be made ahead a day or so.)
Inspired by Bobby Flay’s recipe for Peach Crepes with Bourbon and Pecans
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2-3 tablespoons bourbon
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Add brown sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Add peaches and slide folded crepes into sauce.
Add bourbon and cook until crepes are warmed through.
Vanilla bean ice cream
½ cup toasted pecans
Arrange 2-3 crepes with bourbon peaches on dessert plates.
Top with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Garnish with toasted pecans and fresh mint sprigs.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.