Olympic swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale (“From Pool to Table“) is a culinary wunderkind whose specialty is putting a healthy touch on classy gourmet recipes. Read our July|August 2012 issue for a delectable salmon recipe he created—complete with step-by-step photos. Watch his story here. Then try two more Weber-Gale original recipes, shared exclusively for Alcalde online readers.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions
Erin Krenek, BA ’06, blogs at Wave My Wooden Spoon.
Brussels sprouts: you love them or hate them. And I love them…with bacon. So when The Alcalde asked me to test Weber-Gale’s caramelized Brussels sprouts and pearl onions, I was skeptical of the nutritiously refined recipe that didn’t contain any porky goodness. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this healthy veggie dish in which the simple flavors shined. The natural sweetness of the onions and honey—paired with the tanginess of the mustard—complimented the nutty bitterness of the sprouts.
However, I did miss a pinch of salt, which is particularly important in a recipe like this to accent the natural flavors. I stayed within Weber-Gale’s healthy theme and added 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the sprouts prior to roasting them. Even with this addition, the dish is still low in sodium, and the flavors are so much brighter on your palette. The final result is so good, you won’t even miss bacon!
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
10 pearl onions
20 Brussels sprouts
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
1tbs garlic, finely minced
1 1/2tbs Dijon mustard
1. Remove outer skin from pearl onions. Cut onions into quarters or even eighths depending on how big they are.
2. Add olive oil to a pan at medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent.
3. Add finely minced garlic to the onions and continue to cook until onions begin to caramelize and garlic is very lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
4. Wash Brussels sprouts and remove dirty or rotted leaves. Cut Brussels sprouts into quarters or eighths depending on how big they are.
5. Add Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook for about three minutes.
6. Add mustard and honey to the pan and combine everything thoroughly.
7. Transfer all ingredients to a baking pan and cook in the oven at 375 F for 30 minutes or until Brussels sprouts get a bit browned.
Lamb Chop Potato Gratin with Caramelized Onion, Wild Mushrooms, and Herbs
Rose Cahalan is an Alcalde assistant editor who got her start at Houston’s food magazine, My Table.
I was a vegetarian for the first 20 years of my life, until a particularly delicious plate of Argentine beef led to a religious conversion. Now I’m happily an omnivore—but until this recipe, my lamb chop experience extended only to the mid-1990s children’s TV show of the same name. The few times I’d tried lamb were in Middle Eastern shawarma sandwiches, which never disappoint. Neither did this recipe.
Figuring out what exactly lamb jus was and how to buy it was the greatest challenge. At the meat counter, the butcher stared at me like I was insane when I asked, “Do you have any lamb juice?” (French pronunciation is not my strong suit.) He had neither juice nor jus, so I ended up with plain beef broth, which was fine. I also couldn’t find oyster mushrooms, so I used the regular white kind.
In the end, the lamb was tender, but the caramelized onions were the highlight. My only complaint with this recipe was its relative blandness. If you’re a meat-and-potatoes kind of person, you’ll love this dish. But if you prefer non-traditional flavors, you may want to add garlic, more pepper, and extra herbs.
Makes four servings
1 1/2 tbs canola oil
2 sweet onions, sliced thin
5 tsp lamb jus (Buy the prepackaged jus at a gourmet market—or beef broth.)
3/4 lb yellow oyster mushrooms
4 lamb chops
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
7 medium sized red potatoes
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
3 cups unsalted beef stock
10-inch baking pan (circular)
1. Add canola oil to a pot at medium-low heat. Add thinly sliced onion to pot and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the onions begin to caramelize.
2. Add 5tsp lamb jus to onions and stir so that flavor is throughout.
3. Cut each lamb chop from the rack. Sprinkle both sides of lamb chops with a bit of low-sodium sea salt and black pepper.
4. Heat pan to medium-high heat. Add 1tbs olive oil. Cook lamb chops about three minutes per side or until each has a good brown crust. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
5. Heat a nonstick pan on medium-high heat with 1tbs olive oil. Add mushrooms and continually stir so they do not stick to the bottom of pan. Finish when they are tender. Remove and set in a bowl.
6. Thinly slice potatoes either with a knife or a mandolin. Begin layering the bottom of a baking pan with the potatoes.
7. Once the entire bottom of the pan is layered with potatoes add caramelized onion and mushrooms on top. Make sure to spread both evenly across potatoes.
8. Place lamb chops on top of potatoes, caramelized onions, and mushrooms.
9. Cover lamb chops with another layer of potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Finish with a final layer of potatoes.
10. Cover with 3 cups of unsalted beef stock. Lay bay leaves and thyme on top of potatoes.
11. Cover with parchment paper and cook for one hour at 400 F.
Photos by Erin Krenek (top), Matt Rainwaters (middle), and Rose Cahalan (bottom).