Cooking with Heirlooms

Cooking with Heirlooms

Part of Ep. 702 The Heirloom Garden Pt. 2

Join Richard Palm, executive pastry chef at the American Club at Kohler, as he shares his recipe for fennel and three-pepper stew.

Premiere date: May 01, 1999

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Heirloom vegetables have such wonderful distinctive flavors, they deserve a distinctive recipe. So, I've come to an expert. This is Richard Palm, Executive Pastry Chef here at the American Club at Kohler. And you're also an avid heirloom gardener. And I understand you supplied a lot of the heirloom recipes for Seed Savers Exchange. Richard:
Indeed. And I really enjoyed it. Welcome to the American Club.

Shelley:
Thank you.

Richard:
Shelley, let me show you what we've pulled out of our garden today, my garden. We have a Rose Tomato, which is an Amish heirloom, brand new this year.

Shelley:
Brand new?

Richard:
Brand new in terms of being available to us. Also, I've pulled out some Corno di Toro peppers, which is a sweet pepper. The name is Italian for bull horn, so you'll notice the shape. We have both red and yellow. And we have some wonderful fall grown fennel. This is Romey Fennel. It's more oval than most fennels.

Shelley:
I love cooking with this. It has such a wonderful licorice flavor to it.

Richard:
It's just gorgeous. I enjoy it a lot, as well. We have Candy Onion. This is a modern sweet spanish hybrid, very sweet. And we're going to finish up by the beautiful Spanish gourmet Rocambole Garlic, which is a stiffneck garlic.

Shelley:
These are all so beautiful. What are we going to create with these?

Richard:
We are going to do a fennel and three-pepper stew. We have here, quartered, cored and sliced into half-inch slices about two large fennel bulbs. We have three of those Rose Beefsteak tomatoes, that we have peeled, seeded and chopped. We have one of those Candy Onions that we have quartered, skinned and then sliced, also in half-inch slices. We have the two Corno di Toro peppers that we've taken the seeds and the ribs out of, quartered those and sliced those into half-inch slices.

The green on top is a jalepeno. I do that for just a little bit of counterpoint. I don't want too much heat, but just enough. I've minced that.

I have four cloves of the Rocambole garlic, which I've smashed and then minced. I have a half-teaspoon of the thyme. That's also minced. I have a half-teaspoon of greek oregano from the garden. That's also minced.

We have a dry white wine. We have three-fourths of a cup of that. We used Malvasia Bianca, which is kind of reminiscent of lime and lychee nut, but you can also easily use Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or any dry white wine.

We have an extra virgin olive oil, a high quality. Why? Because when you're using really terrific, top-notch produce like this, you want to make sure that all of your other ingredients are top- notch quality. It's like a computer. If you put good things into your recipe, you'll get good things out. Half of the taste of the dish is simply based on the quality of the ingredients that you put in.

Shelley:
Well, let's assemble this, then.

Richard:
Let's do that. Let's have some fun. We're going to take the fennel and we're going to dump this in.

Shelley:
Now, you're using the cooking pan. You're saving a dish.

Richard:
I am saving the dish. This is about a nine-inch cooking pan that's about a two and a half to two and three-quarters inches tall. We're putting the tomatoes right on top. Yes, I'm using my hands and my fingers.

Shelley:
But that's what a true cook does.

Richard:
That's what a true cook does. And we really enjoy this.

Shelley:
And taste along the way, too!

Richard:
You do, you do. There's nothing wrong with that.

Shelley:
You are getting a little crowded in there.

Richard:
Look at the color.

Shelley:
It's beautiful with the reds. But you're starting to stack up in that dish. Are you going to have a problem?

Richard:
Am I going to be able to stir this? Oh, that's going to be tough. But what I'm going to do is I'm going to cook it down first for the first 15 minutes and then I'll stir it.

Shelley:
Good idea. So, you just put the garlic on top.

Richard:
Notice I'm spreading it out a little bit. That will make it easier when this cooks down to actually distribute it. I'm going to do the same with the herbs. I'm going to do that with both the thyme and the oregano.

And I'm finally going to finish with just a little bit of kosher salt. And the reason I'm not going to salt it too heavily is that as we cook this, we're going to try to evaporate some of the juices to make it a little bit thicker. And as we do that, we're going to be concentrating the juices. And if we put too much salt in it, it will actually get too salty at the end. And we'll end with a nice real grinding of really fine pepper. In this case, we're using tellicherry peppercorns, simply because of the lovely aroma they give off.

Shelley:
Now, you've got two liquids left here.

Richard:
I'm going to dump the dry white wine on top, just like that. And I'm going to finally drizzle the olive oil all over, just like that.

Shelley:
And this goes in the oven at what temperature?

Richard:
375-400 degrees, depending upon your oven. I'm going to snap that lid tight on top. Notice it does fit.

Shelley:
Good.

Richard:
And then, we're going to go into the oven.

Shelley:
And it's going to cook for an hour?

Richard:
About an hour with the top still on. We're going to stir it every 15 minutes. But the last 15 minutes, we're going to cook it with the cover off to allow it to evaporate a little bit and concentrate those juices.

Shelley:
Let's put it in the oven.

Richard:
Let's go.

Richard:
And here, Shelley, after one hour and 15 minutes of cooking...

Shelley:
Oh, it smells great.

Richard:
We have our finished product. I'm going to give it that grinding of fresh pepper that we talked about for aroma and flavor. And I have an heirloom parsley, Gigante d'Italia, Giant of Italy, that I'm just going to sprinkle lightly over to layer in a little flavor. Shall we try it?

Shelley:
This is the important part!

Richard:
This is really a terrific vegetable side dish. It's great warm or cold. It makes just a terrific pasta sauce.

Shelley:
Thank you, Richard. Richard Palm, Executive Pastry Chef here at the American Club, here in Kohler, Wisconsin. Mmm!

Shelley:
Chenango Strawberry, Westfield Seek-No-Further, Wolf River-- Even the names are inspiring. I hope we've inspired you to try growing some of these heirlooms, whether they're fruit or vegetables, in your own backyard. Remember, you'll be growing a little bit of history-- history that tastes great. I'm Shelley Ryan. Thanks for joining me on the Wisconsin Gardener.

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