New Scandinavian Cuisine, Sensuous Grilled Fruit

Hosted by
These recipes are from Roxana Quiros, pastry chef at Opaline restaurant (7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles / 323-857-6725).

Berry Salad with Almond Cake and Mascarpone Cream
Serves 12

This berry salad is the perfect summer dessert. It is light and delicious and allows you to showcase the flavorful local berries that are available in the summer. This dessert consists of three parts: the salad, the almond cake and the Mascarpone cream. Both the cake and the dressing for the salad can be made the day before.

Almond Cake:

  • 4 cups almond meal
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
1. Combine almond meal and baking powder in a bowl.

2. Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk over a double boiler until mixture is very warm.

3. Transfer to the Kitchen Aid bowl and whisk to full volume.

4. Fold in almond meal into egg mixture.

5. Pour batter in a parchment paper-lined half-sheet pan, and bake at 350- F for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. To cut into individual portions, run a pairing knife around the edge of the pan and invert over a table. Remove parchment and cut cakes with a round cutter (4" diameter). Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Mascarpone Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cr-me fra-che
  • 1 pound Mascarpone
Combine heavy cream and cr-me fra-che in the Kitchen Aid bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the Mascarpone and whisk a little longer, just until cream is thick and shiny. Be careful not to over whisk or cream will be grainy. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made a few hours in advance.

Berry Salad:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 litre Muscat
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 stem of fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 pint strawberries, no stem, cut in half
  • 1 pint blackberries or boysenberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
1. Combine sugar and vanilla bean in a clean pot, adding enough water so that the sugar resembles wet sand. Put on the stove and cook over medium heat until sugar starts to caramelize.

2. When the sugar starts to look golden, add the Muscat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Don't let it reduce too much or dressing will be too sweet. Throw the stem of fresh tarragon in the pot, and let it steep. Allow to cool completely, strain and refrigerate.

3. Right before serving combine all the berries in a salad bowl, add the tarragon and toss with the dressing, the same way you toss any savory salad.

4. To assemble, put a round of the almond cake on a plate, spoon on some Mascarpone cream and top with about 1/2 cup of the berry salad.

Cassoulet Desserts
Use heat resistant earthenware dishes to prepare desserts in the cassoulet fashion. A deep cast iron pan can also be used. Once the dessert is ready to be served, top with bread crumbs, just like you would with the real cassoulet.

Nectarine and Blackberry Cassoulet

  • 5 cups nectarines, cut in wedges
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar/LI>
  • 2 cup blackberries/LI>
  • 1 cup heavy cream/LI>
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch/LI>
  • Seasoned bread crumbs/LI>
1. Drizzle sugar on top of the nectarines.

2. Dissolve cornstarch in the heavy cream. Add to the nectarines.

3. Place mixture in earthenware dish or cast iron pan. Top with the blackberries.

4. Cover with foil and place on the grill. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until fruit looks tender and juicy. Allow to rest for a few minutes. 5. To serve, drizzle heavy cream on top and sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs.

Banana Cassoulet

  • 8 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 2 Tablespoons dark rum
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
Peel bananas and cut in half. Place them in earthenware dish or cast iron pan. Drizzle sugar, milk, rum and little pieces of butter on top of the bananas. Cover with foil and place on the grill. Cook for about 30 minutes or until fruit looks tender. Allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve with chocolate syrup and seasoned bread crumbs.

Seasoned Bread Crumbs

  • 1 loaf brioche, with edges trimmed and cut in cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Combine sugar with cinnamon. Place brioche in a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter, then dust with the cinnamon sugar. Bake at 300- F for about 30 minutes. Bread cubes should feel dried and toasted. Allow to cool completely. Pulse in food processor until coarse.

Grilled Fruit
When grilling fruit, apply the same principles you use to grill any other food item. Try to get nice grill marks just like you would with a steak or a burger, use bigger chunks rather than small pieces, and allow yourself to be creative and inventive with the use of marinades. Make sure you save one spot of the grill for dessert only--preferably away from the center so that the fruit isn't directly on top of the flames. That way, your dessert won't taste like meat or vegetables. When the fruit comes off the grill, allow it to sit for a couple minutes before eating as it will be extremely hot. Serve your grilled fruits with plain yogurt, cr-me fra-che, sour cream or vanilla ice cream.

Barbecued Apples
In the summer I like to use Pink Lady apples which are widely available through out the season. They are crunchy and juicy, and hold their shape while they cook at high temperature.

  • 6 apples, cored
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, cut in little cubes
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Combine butter, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Put a little bit of this mixture, about 2 tablespoons, inside each one of the apples. Individually wrap each apple in foil. Place in the coals, and let them cook for 20-30 minutes. They are ready when they can be easily pierced with a knife or a skewer.

Variation: This method works very well with plantains. Leave the skin on, but slash the plantain lengthwise. Put the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture along the opening, wrap plantains individually in foil and cook them in the coals for 20-30 minutes.

Pineapple and Mango Skewers

  • 4 mangos, large
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Bamboo skewers soaked in water to keep them from burning
1. Peel mangos. Cut thick slabs of fruit going around the pit, and then cut the slabs into thick cubes (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches).

2. Peel and core the pineapple and cut it into thick cubes (about 1 1/2 to 2inches).

3. Combine lime juice with honey and marinate the mango in this mixture for about an hour. Combine the coconut milk and the sugar and marinate the pineapple in this mixture for the same amount of time.

4. Assemble the skewers by alternating chunks of mango and pineapple.

5. Grill skewers until fruit starts to look caramelized and feel soft.

Grilled Peaches
Spring Lady peaches are great for grilling because they are sweet, juicy and larger in size. If using a smaller peach like the Sugar Lip, grill whole.

  • 6 peaches
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
Combine orange juice and honey. Set a side. 2. Cut peaches in half lengthwise. If using freestone fruit, remove the pit. Marinate peaches in orange juice and honey mixture for about an hour. Grill the peaches, flesh side down for about 10 -15 minutes.

Stone Fruit Salad
When preparing this fruit salad, make the most out of the stone fruit that is available. The recipe calls for conventional apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines, but feel free to substitute or add any unusual varieties such as apriots, pluots, white peaches, white nectarines, yellow plums, etc.

  • 2 cups apricots, cut in wedges
  • 2 cups peaches, cut in wedges
  • 2 cups plums, cut in wedges
  • 2 cups nectarines, cut in wedges
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cups white wine
  • 2 cups orange Juice
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup Opal Basil leaves
1. Combine sugar and vanilla bean in a clean pot, add enough water so that the sugar resembles wet sand. Put on the stove and cook over medium heat until sugar starts to caramelize.

2. When it starts to look golden, add the white wine and the orange juice and cook until the sugar dissolves. Don't let it reduce too much, or dressing will be too sweet. Remove from heat. Throw the basil in the pot, and let it steep. Allow to cool completely, strain and refrigerate.

3. Right before serving combine all the fruit in a salad bowl, and toss with the dressing, the same way you toss any savory salad. If desired, garnish with some opal basil chiffonade.

Gerry Garvin is the chef of G. Garvin's restaurant, 8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles / 323-655-3888.

Seafood Bouillabaisse
Serves 2 - 4

  • 3 shrimp, size 16/20 size
  • 4 Manila clams
  • 3 black mussels
  • 3 oz fresh calamari
  • 1 oz salmon
  • 1 oz Chilean sea bass
  • 2 oz crab legs
  • 3 snow crab claws
  • 2 Divers scallops
  • 3 white rose potatoes, peeled
  • 2 oz crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp diced onions
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 oz lobster broth
  • 2 oz Maine lobster
  • 2 oz fresh butter (allow to melt)
  • 2 slices French baguette
  • 1 Tablespoon goat cheese spread
  • Pinch of saffron
Begin by making sure your seafood is extremely fresh.

Pour olive oil into a medium-size saute pan. Heat the olive oil until very hot. Place the mussels and clams in the pan along with the garlic. Once the shellfish opens, add the salmon, sea bass and scallops. Let these ingredients saute for approximately 2 minutes. Add the remaining fish, cover and cook approximately 7-10 minutes. Check every 3 minutes to make sure it is not overcooking. After approximately 8 minutes, add the white wine and lobster broth. Simmer an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the consistency is about what you would like. Just as the broth is finishing, place the melted butter on the baguette slices and toast. Spread the goat cheese onto the bread and continue to toast until it is crispy.

Serve the Bouillabaisse in a large bowl with the baguettes (croutons) placed on top of presentation (as well as consumption.)

Andreas Viestad is the author of Kitchen of Light: New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad, published by Artisan Press.

The Devil's Rhubarb
Serves 4

  • 8 thin stalks, very young rhubarb, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup very cold vodka
Peel the rhubarb so that only the juicy interior remains. Place the sugar in a small bowl and take small bites. Clean your mouth with sips of vodka from small glasses.

Aquavit Sorbet
Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup Aquavit
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon zest, and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool

Strain the syrup into a bowl. Add the Aquavit and place the bowl in the freezer. Take out and stir energetically with a fork every 30 minutes until completely frozen.

If the sorbet is frozen hard, let it soften briefly in the refrigerator before serving.

Pan-Seared Cod with Garlic Potato Puree
Serves 2

  • Two 1/2-pound cod fillets, skin on
  • 4 cups chicken stock, or 2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes plus 4 cups water
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Fine sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream or half-and-half
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Soak the fish in ice water for 15 to 20 minutes, or place it in a colander in the sink under cold running water for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Meanwhile, make the potato puree: In a small saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add the potatoes and garlic and boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Drain. Return the potatoes and garlic to the pan and mash with a potato masher or pass them through a food mill or a potato ricer. Return the mixture to the saucepan.

Season the cod fillets liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the fish, skin side up. Cook for 1 minute. Turn fillets and cook 6-7 minutes more on medium heat, until the fish flakes willingly when pushed with a fork.

While the cod is cooking, combine milk and cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Slowly stir the mixture into the potato puree, until smooth and velvety. Cook gently for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Beat the butter and parsley into the potato puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place the potato puree in the middle of two warm dinner plates, and set the cod on top.

Simple Salmon Mousse
Serves 4 to 6 as an hors d'oeurve

  • 1/2 lb very fresh salmon fillet, skin and pinbones removed
  • 1/2 lb smoked salmon, skin removed
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8-ounce container cr-me fra-che or sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 6 Tablespoons lightly salted shad roe or lumpfish roe
  • Toast or crackers for serving
Rinse the fresh salmon under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove any excess traces of fat from the fillets. Cut both the fresh and smoked fish into 1-inch cubes. Place the fish in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until you have a rough puree. Transfer to a bowl.

Stir lemon juice, cr-me fra-che and dill into the salmon. Gently crush the pink peppercorns in your hand and add them to the mousse. Gently stir the roe into the mousse, being careful not to break the fragile eggs.

Place a big dollop of mousse on top of each toast or cracker, arrange on a platter, and serve.