Eye Candy: Ceviche as Art

Eleven Madison Park's Daniel Humm, who earned four stars from the New York Times last year, served this elegant diver scallop ceviche with fennel, yuzu, and rhubarb at a Beard House dinner last month. Click here to see more photos of the stunning menu. (Looking for an easy ceviche that you can make at home? Check out Monday's recipe.)

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America's Classics: Calumet Fisheries, Chicago

America’s Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Chicago’s 95th Street Bridge, which spans the Calumet River on the city’s South Side, is known for two things. One, in the movie The Blues Brothers, Elwood demonstrated the capabilities of his new car by jumping the bridge. Two, it’s the home of Calumet Fisheries, a stand-alone hutch that has been frying and smoking seafood since 1948, when brothers-in-law Sid Kotlick and Len Toll opened the place. To this day, the Kotlick and Toll families run the joint. It’s strictly carryout. No seating, no bathroom, no credit cards. And, if you believe the ominous street sign, no parking. The place draws a working-class, melting-pot crowd, and a fair number of amateur fishermen. (The murky Calumet is a good place to find bluegill.) Fried perch, smelts, and frogs’ legs are big here, but they also bring in scallops, crab, catfish, and oysters. The fried stuff is very good, but what you really wa

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Ask a Chef: What Would You Eat for Your Last Meal on Earth?

"My mom's lasagna, finished with a slice of strawberry cheesecake and a glass of my dad's Moroccan tea with fresh mint." –James Kent, Eleven Madison Park, NYC; U.S.A.'s Bocuse d'Or Representative

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Tastebud: Panna Cotta

panna cotta
Hailing from the Northern Italian regions of Val d’Aosta and Piedmont, classic panna cotta is a combination of sugar and cream or milk (or both!). True to its name (which is Italian for “cooked cream”), the dessert is made by heating the ivory base, adding gelatin (we prefer sheets over powder for the satiny texture they produce), pouring the mixture into round containers to set, and releasing the jelled result. Panna cotta pulls off a miraculous texture that’s both effortlessly light and mouth-caressingly rich.

In Gastronomy of Italy, Anna del Conte writes that while the dessert is occasionally flavored with peach eau-de-vie or paired with fresh fruit, the traditional, unadulterated version prevails throughout the boot. But Beard House chefs have broken the panna cotta mold: Dean James Max an

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Recipe: Scallop Ceviche

scallop ceviche Though summer doesn't arrive for another week, we've already begun to suffer the season's swelter. If you're looking for something to make for dinner that doesn't require turning your oven dials from the "off" position, try this tangy scallop ceviche from Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos. Like all ceviches, this one is "cooked" with lime juice instead of heat. (Technically, the acid denatures the proteins, resulting in seafood that's firm and opaque.)

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Eat This Word: Vacherin

The James Beard Foundation on vacherin

WHAT? A very dairy dessert. Several cow’s milk cheeses, both French and Swiss in origin, go by the name Vacherin, which contains the French word for cow, vache. Some are made specifically for fondue; others are so soft they’re eaten with a spoon. To make matters even more confusing, the word is also used for a French meringue dessert. The dessert, it’s true, was named for the cheese, which it’s said to resemble. Rings of meringue are stacked on top of one another to form a basket, which is filled with fruit and ice cream, whipped cream, or crème chantilly, and then prettily decorated.

WHEN? Jean-Marc Boyer and Cedric Tovar's Beard House Dinner

WHERE? June 30, 2010

HOW? Strawberry Vacherin

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On the Menu: June 13 through June 19

Beard House Here’s what’s happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, June 14, 7:00 P.M. Willamette Wine Country Dinner Inspired by the restored Victorian home in which it is housed, the Painted Lady restaurant seamlessly melds timeless techniques with stunning modern flourishes. Join chef and co-owner Allen Routt and vintner Josh Bergström of Bergström Wines for an inspired menu showcasing the food and wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Tuesday, June 15, 7:00 P.M. Seasoned in the South Described as “sacred ground for Southern foodies” by Bryan Miller in the New York Times, Crook’s Corner is a Chapel Hill institution known as the place t

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Recipe: Chamomile Panna Cotta

chamomile panna cotta This innocent dessert from Tiffany MacIsaac (who oversees sweets at Washington D.C.'s Birch & Barley) was one of our favorite bites at last year's Chefs & Champagne. The panna cotta is inflused with the stems and daisy-like blooms of chamomile, which has recently started showing up in bunches at farmers' markets. MacIsaac's souped-up version (pictured above) enlisted pecan granola, apricot foam, and blueberry compote—a tasty lesson in textural contrast. But the creamy and floral foundation is wonderful alone, and adds a romantic touch to an unfussy summer meal.

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