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Grilled Brassicas with Mixed Grains and Bonito Broth
© Anna Williams

Grilled Brassicas with Mixed Grains and Bonito Broth


At San Francisco's Saison, chef Joshua Skenes slowly roasts various brassicas (plants in the mustard family, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and rutabaga). He serves them with cabbage and cauliflower chips, toasted puffed grains, foie gras fat, slow-cooked quail eggs and a broth—as well as an emulsion—made from bonito (dried smoked fish) and local seaweeds. This streamlined version from Skenes showcases the brassicas and toasted grains in a delightfully frothy bonito-kombu (seaweed) broth.

video Best New Chef 2011: Joshua Skenes

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  1. 1/3 cup farro
  2. 1/3 cup pearled barley
  3. 1/3 cup wild rice
  4. One 1/2-ounce piece of dried kombu (see Note)
  5. One 5-gram package dried bonito flakes (see Note)
  6. 1/2 pound Broccolini or baby broccoli, stems peeled
  7. 4 large brussels sprouts, quartered
  8. 4 large cauliflower florets, quartered
  9. Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 1 tablespoon soy sauce, preferably white soy (see Note)
  12. 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  13. 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
  14. 4 poached quail eggs (see Note)
  1. In each of 3 small saucepans, toast the farro, barley and wild rice over moderately high heat, tossing, until they start to smell nutty, 2 minutes. Add water to each pan to cover the grains and rice by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until just tender, 25 minutes for the farro and barley and 35 minutes for the wild rice. Drain and transfer all the grains and rice to a medium saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, put the kombu in a small saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes; do not boil. Remove from the heat and discard the kombu. Add the bonito flakes and let steep for 2 minutes, then strain the broth into a small saucepan.
  3. Light a grill. Toss the Broccolini, brussels sprouts and cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on a perforated pan over moderate heat, turning often, until the vegetables are nicely charred and crisp-tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the bonito broth, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the grains and heat, stirring often. Season lightly with salt.
  5. Bring the remaining bonito broth to a boil. Transfer to a blender. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and blend until frothy.
  6. Spoon the grains into four bowls. Top with the grilled brassicas and sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice. Top with the quail eggs and season with salt. Spoon the bonito butter froth over the eggs and grains and serve right away.
Look for kombu, bonito and white soy sauce at Asian markets. To poach quail eggs, carefully add to a pot of simmering water for 1 minute, then drain.

Suggested Pairing

Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand's Marlborough region tend to be both fruity and grassy, nice with vegetable-based dishes like this one.