Talk Food Festival: Susan Feniger

Posted on Oct 21, 2013 10:45am

Chef Susan Feniger, owner of Border Grill and Susan Feniger's STREET, visited joined the ladies in the kitchen and whipped up a delicious meal.  All of these recipes are what Susan will be preparing at the upcoming special event, Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine, benefitting the Scleroderma Research Foundation!

Alaska Black Cod Veracruzano
Serves 4


1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless Alaska black cod, cut in 4 portions

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 jalapeños, stemmed and sliced in 1/4-inch disks

1 tomato, cored and seeded, cut in strips

1/2 cup Spanish green olives (picholines) or kalamata olives, sliced

1/2 bunch fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup white wine

3/4 cup fish stock or clam juice

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges


Heat one very large or two medium sized sauté pans over medium high heat for a minute then add olive oil.  When hot, add fish fillets seasoned with salt and pepper and turn the heat to very high.  Sear the fillets until golden brown and flip to sear on the other side when half cooked.  Remove fillets from pan and reserve on plate to catch juices.  


Return the pan (or pans) to the heat, add onions, and cook, stirring often over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, jalapeño slices, tomatoes, olives, and oregano and sauté briskly for 1 minute more.  Add white wine and reduce by half.  Add fish stock and bring to a boil, reduce to half, and return fish filets accompanied by sauce along with the juices to pan to finish cooking, covered, about 1 to 3 minutes depending upon the thickness of fillets.  Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve fish immediately accompanied by sauce, seared greens and rice, with the sauce and vegetables on top. 


Fig, Honey & Acai Cooler

2 oz. acai liqueur
1 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. honey (or agave)
Top with ginger beer
Muddle 1 whole fig
Garnish: slice of fig

Muddle one whole fig in a shaker with lemon juice and honey. Add acai liqueur and shake ingredients well with ice. Double strain into a mason jar or highball glass filled with ice, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with slice of fig.

Couscous with Chopped Kale

2 c. raw Israeli couscous
2 c. raw black kale-fine chiffonade
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. water
1/8 t salt

Brown the couscous in extra virgin olive oil until golden. Add salt, then add water and turn heat down. Cook until done. When chilled, add the fine chiffonade of kale.

Mustard vinaigrette:
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
3 T Dijon mustard
3 T sherry wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the chilled couscous and kale with the mustard vinaigrette.

Mushroom Empanadas
Serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound white or oyster mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 chiles de arbol, stemmed, seeded and finely ground, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bunch epazote or parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 recipe Corn Tortilla dough

1 cup grated cheese mix*

4 cups vegetable oil for frying

1 cup Tomatillo Salsa, see recipe

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup Crema, creme fraiche or sour cream

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the onions until they just begin to brown.  Then stir in the garlic and cook until the aroma is released, about 1 minute longer.  Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and arbol chiles.  Continue cooking until the mushrooms soften, 5 minutes.  Stir in the epazote or parsley and briefly cook just to release its flavor, about a minute.  Set aside to cool.

Divide the corn tortilla dough into 16 equal balls and flatten to 1/4-inch thick 3-inch circles.  Divide the cooled mushroom mixture into 16 portions.

Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with the remaining softened butter.  Place the mushroom mixture in the center and top with 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese mixture.  Fold over to enclose and pinch the edges together tightly to seal.  Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Pour the oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, fry the empanadas, a few at a time, until they color slightly and rise to the surface, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.

To serve, split each empanada open along the seam and garnish with 1 tablespoon each salsa, cabbage and crema, creme fraiche or sour cream.  Serve hot.

* We like to use a grated mixture of one part manchego, one part panela and one-half part Cotija cheese because it gives greater texture and flavor than just one cheese, but that is not a hard-and-fast rule.  Go right ahead and use whatever you happen to have in the house, or experiment and come up with your own cheese mix.

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
Makes 3 1/2 cups

½ small onion, chopped
6 to 8 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded (if desired), and finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
12 medium tomatillos, roasted (*see instructions below)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 large avocados (about 2 pounds), halved, seeded and diced in ½" dice

Combine the onion, chiles, cilantro, tomatillos, salt and pepper in a blender and process to a rough mixture.  Pour over the avocados in a shallow bowl and combine gently.  Serve chilled with chips, empanadas, quesadillas, burritos or anything!

 * To roast tomatillos, remove papery husk and discard.  Wash well with warm water, dry and place under a broiler quite close to the flame for about 10 minutes, turning often to blacken on all sides.    

Copyright © 2013, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger,

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