Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Wolfgang Puck

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 10:45am

The holidays are just around the corner and making dinner for family and friends can be quite overwhelming... even for the most experienced cook. In today's "Talk Takeaway," celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck showed our ladies how to make a festive dinner that's simple and delicious. Here are the recipes from today's show.

Chef Wolfgang Puck recently launched an iPhone app, now available for free from the App Store, which features never-before-published recipes, cooking and technique videos, one-touch calling for reservations, event planning tools and social media integration.  "I'm excited to bring my favorite recipes, cooking tips and tricks to our fans who share my passion for food and entertaining," said Wolfgang Puck. "For those who like to cook, dine out or host events, my app offers great features to make life easier at home or while traveling. It's VIP access to the best of what we have to offer!"


 Yield:  Serves 4


Candied Walnuts:

1/2 cup shelled walnut pieces

2 cups peanut oil

1 cup confectioners' sugar


Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup hazelnut oil

1/4 cup walnut oil


Freshly ground black pepper



3 heads Belgian endive

1 head baby frisée (curly endive)

1/2 pound baby arugula leaves

1/2 pound mixed baby greens

2 Granny Smith apples

1 pomegranate

6 whole pitted dates, cut into strips

1/4 pound Roquefort or other blue-veined cheese, crumbled


1.      First, prepare the Candied Walnuts.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.   Arrange the walnuts in a baking pan and toast them in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes, checking to make sure they don't burn.


2.      Pour the peanut oil into a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Slowly heat it to 350 degrees F. on a deep-frying thermometer.


3.      While the oil heats, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the toasted walnuts and boil for about 1 minute.  Drain well, then transfer the nuts to paper towels and pat dry.


4.      When the oil reaches frying temperature, put the confectioners' sugar in a small mixing bowl, add the nuts, and toss to coat them.  Then, with a slotted metal spoon, carefully lower the nuts into the hot oil.  Cook until deep golden brown, about 30 seconds, and then immediately lift them out carefully with the slotted spoon and transfer to a baking pan lined with paper towels.  Set aside.


5.      Next, prepare the Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette.  In a medium bowl, put the vinegar, mustard, shallot, and thyme.  Stir together with a wire whisk.  Then, whisking continually, very slowly pour in the olive, hazelnut, and walnut oils, continuing to whisk until the dressing is thick and creamy.  Set aside.


6.      For the salad, separate the endive leaves, rinse and pat them dry; then, stack them, cut crosswise into thin julienne strips, and transfer to a large salad bowl.  Rinse the frisée, pat dry with paper towels, trim the leaves, and tear into bite-sized pieces, transferring them to the bowl.  Rinse and pat dry the arugula leaves and add to the bowl along with the mixed greens.  Peel and core the apples and cut them into julienne strips and add to the bowl.


7.      With a sturdy, sharp knife, quarter the pomegranate.  Immerse each quarter in a bowl of cold water and, with your fingers, separate the seeds from the peel and white pith.  Transfer the seeds to paper towels to drain.


8.      Add the dressing to the bowl of salad ingredients and toss until thoroughly mixed and evenly coated.  Mound the salad on individual serving plates.  Garnish with the cheese, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and dates, and serve immediately.




 Yield:  Makes 4 to 6 servings


This is a dramatic way to serve pork chops.  A French pork rack is a rack of chops that have not been cut apart.  The meat can be partially separated from the bone and opened up or butterflied so that the entire track can be topped with a stuffing, then rolled up and tied.  Dried fruit always makes a marvelous accompaniment with pork, and this stuffing, accented with lots of caramelized onions, ginger, cinnamon, and star anise, is no exception.


8 ounces prunes, chopped

2 ounces dried organic apricots, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 French pork rack containing 6 to 8 chops, 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds, butterflied

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups apple cider


1.      Toss together the chopped prunes and apricots with half the sage and rosemary in a bowl.


2.      Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the chopped prune and apricot mixture in an even layer over the inside of the pork rack.  Moisten your fingers and press the filling down into the meat, then roll up the meat tightly against the bones.  Using kitchen twine, tie the pork rack between each of the bones.  Season the outside with salt, pepper, and the remaining herbs.


3.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat.  Sear the pork rack on all sides until evenly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove the pork and set aside.  Pour off the fat from the pan.


4.      Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the butter.  When it has melted, add the onions, ginger, cinnamon stick, and star anise.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the maple syrup and continue sautéing, stirring continuously, until the mixture has a deep caramel color, about 5 minutes longer.  Add the cider to the pan.  Stir and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits.  Cook until the liquid has reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.  Taste and adjust seasonings.


5.      Transfer the pork to a roasting pan or baking dish and cover it with half the onion mixture.  Roast the pork until a roasting thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone registers 160 degrees F., 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  Cover it with the remaining onion mixture halfway through roasting.


6.      When the pork is done, remove it from the oven, cover the dish with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes so the meat juices settle.  With a sharp knife, carve the pork between the bones into chops.  Serve on heated plates, spooning the onions and pan juices over and around the pork.


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