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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dory Ford's Recipe for Truffle Cheese Fondue

You gotta love a guy who's always grinning, whether he's describing what he likes about a particular local grower's goods, calling his former GM a "dweeb" or sipping dry-ice margaritas at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine post party. Speaking of PBF&W, at the grand tasting two days after the post party where I saw him, Dory Ford (above left) was doing ambitious things—he had three times as many tastes going as his peers—perhaps as a coming-out of sorts for the former Ventana and Aquarium head chef, as he's now devoting himself full-time to his anything-under-the-sun catering outfit Aqua Terra. ("Aqua Terra—land and sea," he told me at the Chanterelle Cook Off, where he won Best Dish for his strudel. "We make anything from the land and sea and serve it anywhere on land and sea. OK—700 seared chicken dinners delivered to a hotel ballroom, done; romantic dinner for two on Big Sur cliffs, you name it.")

"Aqua Terra specializes in farm to table products that are responsibly sourced with an emphasis on seasonality, quality and minimizing environmental impact…from farmers Ford knows and trusts," goes the more scripted mission. "Each menu is custom developed to match the lifestyle, personality and culture of the client."

Looks like he's got more excitement where that's coming from. He'll be doing butter-poached Maine Lobster with truffle scented mashed potatoes (with fava beans and shaved truffles) at Cooking for Solutions Friday, May 21.

Monday, May 24, he's on KGO-TV's View From the Bay with Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang making some mouthwatering fava raviolis and truffle cheese fondue (!). Here's the recipe to the flavor revolution:

Crispy Fava Bean Raviolis with Truffle Cheese Fondue

Fava Bean Ravioli Filling
2 Cups fresh fava beans - blanched and peeled
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Arbequina Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoons Fresh Tarragon, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Place fava beans in food processor, pulse until coursely ground. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

1 # Pasta Sheets - 6"X22" (approximately 5 sheets)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
Canola or olive oil for frying

Lay pasta sheet over large 2.5" 10 count ravioli mold, depress to indent spaces with indent plate. Fill each space with 1 1/2 tablespoon of fava bean filling. Brush another sheet with beaten egg and lay over top of filled raviolis, egg side down. Seal, turn out and cut apart. Par cook 2 minutes per side in boiling salted water. Remove to tray lined with towel to drain breifly. Toss in bowl with bread crumbs, remove to tray to dry. Heat oil to 325 degrees, fry raviolis in small batches until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm with truffle cheese fondue.

For The Truffle Cheese Fondue
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
½ cup white wine
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ½ cups shredded Bothwell Black Truffle Cheese
Truffle oil, optional

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over gentle heat.
Cook shallots until soft. Add wine and reduce by ½.
Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Mix shredded cheese with cornstarch and add,
Whisking constantly until all of the cheese is melted.
Puree wuth hand blender until smooth and glossy.
Hold in warm place until ready to serve

*Be careful not to boil the fondue once the cheese is added.