What’s for dinner this month and what are we drinking? We ask chef, cookbook author, and TV personality Scott Conant and his Scottsdale restaurant, the Americano.
In this monthly series, our goal is to inspire you when it comes to those most-asked questions: “What’s for dinner and what are we drinking?” We find culinary experts each month to share their inspo, best recipes and how-tos for a great dinner and a cocktail.
OUR EXPERT | Chef, Cookbook Author, and TV Personality Scott Conant
WHERE YOU’LL FIND HIM | The Americano
THE INSPO | Warm and Cozy Flavors for December
DINNER | Spiced Duck Breast, Foie Gras Meatballs, Baby Kale & Pomegranate Jus
DRINKS | Variation One Plum Cocktail
You may have seen celebrity Chef Scott Conant on the Food Network as a judge on Chopped, the host of Chopped Sweets or co-hosting Beat Bobby Flay, but did you know he’s also the proud owner of three restaurants?
We’re kicking off Dinner & Drinks for December with Conant at his Italian-inspired steakhouse in Scottsdale, The Americano.
PAUL MOORE STUDIO
We’re kicking off Dinner & Drinks for December with Conant at his Italian-inspired steakhouse in Scottsdale, The Americano. The Americano offers an elevated yet approachable menu, with pasta, fine steaks, Italian antipasti and Mediterranean seafoods.
Beyond his impressive career as a TV personality and restaurant owner, Conant has published three cookbooks, the most recent of which being PEACE, LOVE AND PASTA. His cookbook highlights the mouth-watering, Italian meals that he grew up with, as well as the dinners he makes today for his own family.
Meals cooked from simple, fresh ingredients are a staple for Conant, which makes him the perfect choice for our series. So, what is for dinner and what are we having for drinks?
DINNER | SPICED DUCK BREAST, FOIE GRAS MEATBALLS, BABY KALE & POMEGRANATE JUS
• 4 sunchokes skin on, cut into thin slices
• 6 ounces shallots sliced
• 1 sprig thyme
• 1 pinch of chili flakes
• Olive oil as needed
• Water as needed
• Salt as needed
First, cook shallots in olive oil until tender and sweet. Next add sunchokes and cook for 5 minutes without browning.
Cover with water, add thyme and chili flakes and cook until a soft consistency. More water may be needed, and it is very important that the skin is fully cooked. If you have too much water and the sunchokes are ready, do not throw away the cooking liquid, reduce it and use it to thin out the puree. “All of the flavor is in the water!” says Scott Conant.
Purée in a blender and emulsify with olive oil. Season the mixture with salt and pass through chinoise cloth. If the purée is too liquid, you can hang it in cheese cloth overnight. Sauté baby kales with EVOO for one minute.
• 32 ounces pomegranate juice
• 250 grams duck jus (fortified with caramelized shallots, thyme and chili flake strained at least 5 times!)
Place pomegranate juice in a wide pot, and cook on high heat, reduce rapidly, skimming as it reduces. Paint down the sides with a pastry brush and water to keep the sugars from burning. Reduce to about 185 grams, or until it’s a light syrup. Strain and cool rapidly over a dry ice bath.
Mix 85 grams of reduced pomegranate juice with 300 grams of duck jus. Adjust seasoning if needed.
• 2 sunchokes, washed dried skin on
• 1 box kosher salt
Spread a 2-inch layer of kosher salt on to a half sheet pan. Place sunchokes in (from the first half of the recipe) on top of the kosher salt.
Bake at 375 degrees until soft. Remove from salt, dusting off excess. Chill then cut in half if small, or quarter if large. Reserve.
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Duck & Foie Gras Meatballs
• 1 duck leg ground, clean weight no skin
• 1 chicken breast, boneless skinless
• 3 oz panko
• 7 ounces milk
• 5 garlic cloves, pre-roasted
• 5 grams fennel seed, toasted ground
• 4 grams coriander seed, toasted ground
• 3 grams paprika
• 145 grams foie gras, marinated, small diced
• 12 grams salt, kosher
• 3 grams crushed red pepper flakes
Soak panko in milk for at least 30 minutes. Purée chicken breast with garlic cloves in a food processor.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl over ice and mix by hand to incorporate and emulsify. Check seasoning. Portion using a half-portion scoop. Shape into balls and reserve.
Sicilian Spice Mix
• 12 grams orange, using only the rind of half an orange with no pith (pre dehydration)
• 12 grams fennel seed
• 2 grams pepperoncini, crushed red pepper flakes
• 14 grams paprika
• 0.6 grams pimenton (sweet)
• 0.4 grams cinnamon pieces
Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the orange rind, without the pith. “It is easier to peel the rind without pith using a cold orange versus a room-temperature orange,” says Scott Conant.
On a flat microwavable plate, layer dry paper towel and evenly place the orange rinds on top to dehydrate. Microwave for 1 minute. Repeat this process for about 5 minutes or until the orange rinds are dry and feel crisp, using fresh paper towels underneath the orange rinds for each microwave session.
Lightly toast the dehydrated orange peels and spices in a small sauté pan over a low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Place all ingredients into a spice grinder, grind to a fine powder.
• 1 duck breast, seasoned with salt and spice mix, cooked medium rare & rested
• 1 ounce pomegranate duck jus
• 2 to 3-piece sunchokes roasted
• 1 ounce baby kale, sauté a la minute or charred in the broiler. Do not wilt
• 6 to 8-piece pomegranate seeds
• 3 each foie gras duck meatballs, seared and glazed in jus
• Maldon salt
• Extra virgin olive oil
Place quenelle of purée off-center of the plate. Box the duck and cut into 3 pieces crosswise. Arrange duck on plate, 2 pieces skin-side up, one flesh-side up, in a circular pattern.
Place greens, roasted sunchokes and meatballs in the negative space. “Finish with pomegranate seeds, jus, EVOO and maldon salt,” says Scott Conant.
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DRINK | Variation One
• Ron Zacapa Centenario No. 23 Rum
• Matsui Umeshu Plum Brandy
• Elderberry Mesquite Honey
• Rosemary Sage Bitters
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Add the ingredients into a shaker tin, shake until chilled, strain the cocktail into a Nick & Nora glass and garnish with dehydrated plum sugar. Toast Chef Scott Conant.
We hope you’ll try these recipes at home. When you do, please share images and experiences with us @youriconiclife #iconiclifedinnerdrinks.
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