Cook a Perfect Meal: The Recipes

From chef Vitaly Paley and USA Cycling coach Michael Manning, as featured in July 2007's "How to Do Everything (Well, Almost)"

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All recipes serve 4 to 6


Dungeness crab cocktail

1 1/2 cups dungeness crab meat

Cocktail sauce: makes 2 cups

2 lbs of ripe red tomatoes
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Juice of 12 grapefruit
Juice of 1 lemon
14 cup apple cider vinegar
14 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp green peppercorns packed in brine
1 large shallot peeled and coarsely chopped
13 cup prepared horseradish
1 generous dash of Tabasco
1 generous dash of worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half on an equator with the stem end at the top. Remove the seeds. Holding the rounded portion of the tomato against your palm, grate it on a largest side of a box grater over a medium size bowl.

Next, pour the orange juice and zest, grapefruit juice, half the lemon juice, cider vinegar, brown sugar, capers, green peppercorns, and shallot into a blender. Season with salt and black pepper, then liquefy.

Transfer the mixture to a 2 quart sauce pan and cook on a low flame for 30 to 40 minutes or until the raw flavor of the onion has disappeared and the tomato mixture has reduced to the consistency of ketchup.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely. Then add the horseradish, Tabasco, worcestershire and the remaining lemon juice. Stir and season the cocktail sauce with more salt and black pepper if needed. Serve chilled.

Deviled eggs

4 large fresh farm eggs hard boiled
2 ounces of good quality canned tuna packed in water
1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp capers plus caper juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish

Boil the eggs. Cut the eggs in half and scoop out the yolks. Place the egg yolks, tuna, garlic, parsley, mustard, anchovies, and capers in a cup or food processor and puree the mixture until it’s smooth, adding caper juice as needed to loosen the mixture. Season with pepper.

Spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the egg whites, sprinkle the tops with paprika, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Prosciutto-wrapped grilled figs

4 ripe fresh black mission figs cut in half
4 slices of prosciutto cut in half lengthwise
Extra virgin olive oil

Wrap each fig half with half slices of prosciutto. Secure it in place with a tooth pick. Brush the wrapped fig sparingly with olive oil. Grill for about a minute over hot coals on all sides to warm and add some smokey flavor.


Cedar-Planked Salmon

2 pounds of fresh, wild salmon with the skin still on
14 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
Zest of 2 oranges
1 small head of garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 small Walla-Walla onion peeled, cut in half, and sliced thin
12 cup roughly chopped basil
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cedar plank

In a bowl, mix salt, brown sugar, and orange zest. Rub the salmon generously on both sides with this mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to two hours.

Preheat a gas grill or wait until your charcoal gets red hot.

Brush the cedar plank on both sides with half the olive oil. Spread the chopped garlic on the cedar plank the length and the width of the salmon fillet. Place the salmon on top. Cover the fish evenly with basil and the sliced onion, then drizzle it with the remaining olive oil.

Place the cedar plank directly on the grill. Allow the plank to burn all the way around the fish. The onion will protect the fish from burning. Once most of the exposed plank has burned, place a lid over the grill to smother the fire, and cook the salmon approximately 15 minutes, until medium rare. Use a probe thermometer to verify the temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare.

Pasta Salad

2 cups dried spelt penne pasta cooked according to the package instructions
1 medium green zucchini squash cut in half lengthwise
1 medium Japanese eggplant cut in half lengthwise
1 red bell pepper cut in half cored and seeded
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup green basil leaves loosely packed, washed, and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves peeled and finely diced
14 cup grated parmesan
14 cup olive oil plus more for brushing the vegetables
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brush the zucchini and eggplant and pepper on all sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then grill on all sides for about two minutes, directly over the hottest part of the grill. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop.

In a big mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta, grilled vegetables, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and parmesan. Stir in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until dinner.

Spicy Greens Salad

8 ounces spicy greens like mizuna, arugula, or watercress; washed and dried
1 cup fresh cherries pitted
12 medium sweet onion cut into thin rings
5 oz fresh goat cheese crumbled
14 cup balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small straight-sided sauce pot, combine cherries with balsamic vinegar and, over high heat, bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and let the cherries sit in the vinegar for about 15 minutes or until they’re completely cool. Drain the cherries and save three tablespoons of vinegar. In large mixing bowl, combine the greens, cherries, and sliced onion. Season the salad with salt and pepper, and then dress it with your cherry balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Crumble the goat cheese on top and serve immediately.


Summer-berry-and-olive-oil-polenta cake; grilled peaches

3 whole Eggs
1 12 cups Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
34 cup olive oil
Zest & Juice of one Lemon
3 cups Flour
13 cup polenta
34 tsp baking soda
34 tsp salt
1 cup of fresh blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whip the eggs and sugar for about three minutes, then add vanilla, olive oil, and lemon zest and juice.

Mix the flour, soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture to the polenta and mix. Be sure not to over mix or it could make the cake very dense and hard. Pour 3/4 of the batter into a 10-inch greased cake pan. Arrange the fresh berries to cover the batter, then pour the remaining batter over the berries. Bake until the top is golden and a tooth pick comes out cleanly; about 45 minutes.

Grilled peaches

3 ripe but firm peaches cut in half and pitted
Extra-virgin olive oil

Brush the cut side of each peach with olive oil. Place the peaches on the gril,l cut side down over dying embers. Grill until barely warm; about 5 minutes.

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