Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Mary Sue Milliken

Posted on Mar 20, 2013 10:45am

Mary Sue Milliken stopped by to cook up some amazing dishes and let us know about "Vegas Uncork'd". "Vegas Uncork'd" brings together culinary talents including Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Joël Robuchon, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, François Payard, Guy Savoy, Hubert Keller, Michael Mina and Mary Sue Milliken.  The Las Vegas-based international food festival is a weekend packed with intimate dinners, luncheons, wine and food tastings, cooking demonstrations and more.  

Griddled Corn Cakes with Crab and Lobster Salsa

Serves 4

Makes 8 large corn cakes, or 18 to 24 mini

Griddled Corn Cakes:

2 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed

1/2 cup fine to medium ground yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, depending on sweetness of corn

1 1/2 cups water, divided

1/2 cup crema or crème fraiche

Unsalted butter, for cookie sheet and parchment

Crab and Lobster Salsa:

1 pound picked Alaska crab and/or Lobster meat *

1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 small jicama, peeled and finely diced (about 1/4 cup)

1 small shallot, finely diced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and finely diced

1 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 eggs and olive oil for frying (optional)  

Run point of a sharp knife down center of each row of corn kernels, and then scrape cobs forcefully with dull side of knife, extracting the pulp and milk from inside of each kernel.  This will yield about 1 cup raw corn puree.

In a small bowl, mix yellow cornmeal, with 1/2 cup of the water.  In a small saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup water to a boil and stir in moistened cornmeal mixture, whisking constantly.  Add baking powder, salt, sugar, 1 cup raw corn puree, and crema, and continue cooking and whisking over medium high heat until mixture is thoroughly cooked and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Pour mixture onto a generously buttered cookie sheet and spread with a spatula to an even 1/2-inch thickness.  Cover with a generously buttered parchment or wax paper and chill thoroughly.  

Add lobster and/or crab, red bell pepper, jicama, shallot, jalapeño, cilantro, olive oil, and lime juice to a mixing bowl and season well with salt and pepper.  Combine thoroughly and chill until ready to serve.  

To serve, cut corn cakes into squares or circles with a knife or round cookie cutter.  Preheat a non-stick skillet until it's nice and hot. Fry corn cakes until golden brown on both sides, remove to a platter, and serve with a generous mound of seafood salsa on top and top with fried egg.  

*whichever is in season 

Tamarind Chinchón Margarita

Makes 1 cocktail

2 to 3 tablespoons tajín spiced salt*

1 wedge orange

2 ounces tequila reposado

1/2 ounce Chinchón Spanish anis sweet liqueur

2 ounces Tamarind Puree (see recipe below)

1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

Ice, for cocktail shaker

Cover a small plate with tajín to a depth of 1/8 inch.  Run orange wedge around rim of a martini glass and dip glass in tajín to coat rim.  Set aside.

Combine tequila, Chinchón, Tamarind Puree, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled, and strain into martini glass.  Serve immediately.

Tamarind Puree

8 ounces tamarind paste**

4 cups hot water

3/4 cup sugar

Combine tamarind paste and hot water in a large mixing bowl and mash and stir until all tamarind pulp is combined with water.  Push mixture through a strainer into a saucepan, discarding the fibrous membranes and seeds.  Add sugar and bring tamarind mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.

* Tajín is a tangy, spicy Mexican seasoning powder, consisting of dried chiles, dehydrated lime juice, and salt.  It can be found in Mexican markets and most supermarkets.

** Tamarind is a brittle, brown seed pod with a unique sweet tart flavor.  Bricks of tamarind paste are available in Mexican and Asian markets and most supermarkets.

Copyright © 2013, Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, 

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