Top Chef Somerville Roundup Part I


The challenge: Make a three course tasting menu for 6 guests for an event of your choice. The "secret" ingredient is berries.
The chefs: Meredith, Tucker
The sous chefs: Sam, Rachel
The head judges: Alison, Genevieve
The guest judges: Lydia, Maura
The outcome: A tie, 3-3

Tucker's Menu
Raspberry gazpacho with creamy Spanish goat cheese
Pan-seared wild salmon with wheat berries and arugula pesto
Peach and blueberry individual gallettes with vanilla whipped cream

Meredith's Menu
Cranberry crab rangoon over a bed of frisee, watercress, and orange
Mushroom risotto with rack of lamb with berry glaze
White chocolate cheesecake with apricot glaze and strawberries

I'll try and post all the recipes, but I need to do it in batches because it is too much to do at once!

Arugula Pesto
adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients
2 bunches arugula
1 bunch basil
3/4 cup pine nuts and almonds, toasted
1/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves to taste (we like it very garlicky)

Preparation
Blend arugula, basil, pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until well blended. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made ahead. Cover and let stand up to 2 hours at room temperature or refrigerate up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.)

The pesto was tossed in with the wheat berries (they are like slightly chewier barley), shallots, and orange cherry tomatoes. It was also served with a piece of seared salmon (salt and pepper seasoning)

UPDATE: I got some more details from Tucker on how he did the wheat berries in pesto and seared salmon

Wheat Berries
Start the Wheat Berries- Cover the berries in just over an inch of
salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 35-45 minutes.

Pesto
Toast 3/4 c almonds and pine nuts with 5 cloves of smashed garlic.
Grate cheese in food processor, then trade blades.
Wash arugula and bruise basil.
Grind nuts, garlic, cheese, arugula, basil, with a splash of lemon
juice, 1/2 t salt and black pepper.
Pour in 1/2 c olive oil in a slow stream with the motor running.
Toss 1/3-1/2 of pesto with wheat berries if done.

Salmon
Heat cast iron pan with 1 T canola oil to almost smoking
Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper
Cook salmon skin side down for 4 minutes
Flip and cook for 3 minutes without moving then remove
Cover with pesto and plate immediately next to wheat berry salad.

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