Sandlapper Society

Spring 2008

Boot Camp for Aspiring Chefs

Chef Patrick Duggan instructs students at Culinary Camp at Carolina, a weeklong camp for teens held at University of South Carolina. Duggan, a Johnson and Wales University graduate who cooked at Cypress in Charleston and Ristorante Divino in Columbia before coming to USC, enjoys teaching as much as his students enjoy learning.

"The kids are so adventuresome, it's really fun," he said of the students enrolled the inaugural camp. "I wanted to make it complicated enough, but not overly intimidating, and I wanted to introduce them to as many different kinds of foods as I could. They seemed to really enjoy it—particularly sushi day, which was at the end."

Throughout the week, the students worked in various areas of the kitchen. They didn't just prepare recipes, but also learned fundamentals such as knife skills, dining room etiquette and food safety. Guest chefs, including Mike Deevy of the Governor's Mansion, brought their experiences to camp as well.

Out of school and too old to participate? Get a taste of the Culinary Camp at Carolina with these recipes, which were developed by chef Duggan and prepared by the campers.

French Onion Soup

6 large onions (about 5 pounds), sliced thin
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon flour
1-1/2 quarts (6 cups) beef broth
1 oz. (2 tablespoons) dry vermouth
1 2-1/2-inch thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

In a large kettle, cook the onions in the butter over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until they are golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the broth slowly, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it, covered, for 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

To serve, place 2 slices of the toast in each of 6 heated soup bowls. Top each toast with 1 tablespoon of the Gruyere, then pour the soup over the toasts.

Rosemary Focaccia

1 package active dry yeast
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Special equipment: standing electric mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook

Stir together 1-2/3 cups lukewarm (105-115F) water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups flour, 1/4 cup oil and 2-1/2 teaspoons table salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in 1 to 2 tablespoons more flour. Knead dough 1 minute (it will still be slightly sticky), then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn dough to coat top with oil, then let rise, covered with plastic wrap, at warm room temperature, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Press dough evenly into a generously oiled 15x10x1-inch baking pan, then let rise, covered with a kitchen towel, until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425. Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Make shallow indentations all over the dough with your fingertips, then brush the dough with the rosemary oil, letting it settle into the indentations. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the dough and bake it in the middle of the oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Herbed Chicken & Arugula Panini

1 pound thin chicken cutlets
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 1/2-inch thick slices of olive bread, or 4 crusty sandwich rolls
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch arugula

Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then 1 tablespoon thyme. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil and garlic to skillet; stir over medium heat 15 seconds. Add vinegar and remaining half tablespoon thyme; cook 15 seconds, scraping up browned bits. Return chicken to skillet and toss until heated through, about 1 minute.

Arrange 1 bread slice on each of 4 plates. Top with chicken, onion and arugula, then drizzle with vinaigrette from skillet. Top with remaining bread.

Mashed Yucca With Garlic

Fresh yucca—sometimes called cassava—is a staple starch in the West Indies. Chef Duggan, who grew up on the island of St. Croix, remembers eating yucca as a child and hopes to increase its popularity. You can find it at most grocery stores; Duggan gets his at Publix.

4 pounds fresh yucca, preferably 2 inches in diameter, or 3 pounds frozen
1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups hot milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons salt

Trim ends from yucca and peel remainder, removing all the waxy brown skin and pinkish layer underneath. Cut into 3-inch-thick slices and boil in salted water to cover by 2 inches until tender and just starting to fall apart, 50 minutes to 1 1/4 hours.

Drain and transfer to a cutting board. Carefully halve hot yucca pieces lengthwise and remove thin woody core. Return yucca to the pot and add 1 3/4 cups milk, garlic, juice and salt. Coarsely mash the yucca, adding additional milk if necessary. Serve immediately.

Kasha With Browned Onions & Almonds

Try this side dish instead of rice pilaf.

1 cup coarse kasha, also called roasted buckwheat groats
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1½ tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Thai red chili paste to taste

Stir together kasha and egg until combined, then cook in a heavy, dry 3- to 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until grains smell toasty and begin to separate, about 2 minutes. Add boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, covered, over low heat until kasha is barely tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

While kasha cooks, toast almonds in 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Transfer nuts to a plate, then add oil and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to skillet and heat over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 15 minutes.

Stir kasha into onion mixture, then add almonds, parsley and remaining salt and pepper.

Key Lime Pie

For the crust:
4 cups Graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted

For the filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
3 egg yolks

Make the crust: Mix all ingredients and press into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing firmly to line bottom and sides. Bake for 8 minutes at 350°.

Make the filling: Whisk all ingredients together in a stainless steel bowl and pour into the crust. Bake 15-30 minutes at 350° until custard is set but not browned. Serve cold or at room temperature.