Haute Chefs of California Cuisine

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In his book, A Great American Cook: Recipes from the Home Kitchen of One of Our Most Influential Chefs, Jonathan Waxman reflects on the influence his children have had on his cooking. A former chef at the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley and the chef-owner of Barbuto in New York City and West County Grill in Sebastopol, California, Waxman is credited with introducing California cuisine to the East Coast.


Another haute chef of California cuisine is Michael McCarty, owner of Michael's restaurants in Santa Monica and New York. McCarty's latest book is Welcome to Michael's: Great Food, Great People, Great Party!. His recipe for pan-seared king salmon with blood orange vinaigrette is illustrative of what has become known as "California cuisine."

Pan-seared King Salmon with Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 4

  • 2 cups fresh blood orange juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup blood orange segments, well drained of excess juice
  • 2 Tablespoons clarified butter
  • Four 6-oz boneless, skinless king salmon fillets
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Place the orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until reduced to 2/3 cup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the vinegar with the reduced orange juice. Whisk in the oil, and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Fold in the orange segments and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. When very hot but not smoking, add the salmon and sear for about 4 minutes or until just set around the edges. Turn and sear for an additional 4 minutes or until the fish is just barely cooked through.

While the fish is cooking put the vinaigrette in a small saucepan and gently warm it over low heat.

Spoon the warm vinaigrette on each of 4 dinner plates. Place one piece of salmon in the center of each plate. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Michael McCarty's Welcome to Michael's.