Delicious dishes from California chefs, including David Myers' summer melon soup with crab and Nancy Silverton's sautéed cauliflower frittata.
Food & Wine
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Daikon-Papaya Summer Rolls with Minted Yogurt Sauce
Douglas Keane says that these summer rolls, filled with tangy marinated daikon, cucumber and papaya, are the perfect way to jolt the palate before a rich meal that will likely include truffles and foie gras.
Pancetta-Wrapped Peaches with Basil and Aged Balsamic
San Francisco chef Stuart Brioza sears sweet summer peaches in pancetta with fresh basil leaves for a crispy, juicy hors d'oeuvre. They would also be an unexpected addition to a frisée or baby escarole salad.
"The lemon-poppy seed combo is classic," says Vinny Dotolo. "When I was a kid, I ate lemon-poppy seed muffins for breakfast and with ice cream for dessert." Now he turns the pairing into lovely cakes: They have a tender cakey layer on the bottom, a luscious curd-like layer on top and poppy-seed crème fraîche to finish the whole thing off.
Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Dill Cream
Although Wolfgang Puck is best known for putting smoked salmon, caviar and dill-flecked crème fraîche on his designer pizzas, he also loves this trio of toppings with his exceptionally crispy potato pancakes, a dish he makes frequently when cooking at home. All three garnishes are wonderfully decadent together; still, you can leave out the smoked salmon or the caviar.
Prosciutto-Cheese Piadina and Butternut Squash Piadina
Chef Nate Appleman cooks Piadina—the excellent flatbread sandwiches that he describes as "Italian quesadillas"—on his custom stone griddle. Appleman cooks the flaky dough until it's just crisp outside, then stuffs it with sumptuous combinations like tender roasted squash with pancetta, or prosciutto with stracchino cheese and peppery arugula.
Crispy Vietnamese Crêpes with Shrimp, Pork and Bean Sprouts
When Charles Phan samples banh xeo (a.k.a. "happy pancakes") at Vietnamese restaurants, he often finds that they aren't crisp enough. Phan thinks the perfect crêpe should be lacy thin and crackly crisp. After years of obsessive experimentation, he recommends refrigerating the batter overnight, so the starches have time to relax, then cooking the crêpes in a nonstick pan.
This frittata includes sautéed cauliflower topped with homemade bread crumbs for a lovely bit of crunch. Nancy Silverton's trick for making small amounts of bread crumbs is to toast a slice of sourdough bread, rub it with a garlic clove and grind it in a mortar.
Broiled Ricotta with Olives and Sun-Dried-Tomato Relish
Broiling ricotta intensifies its creaminess: It's ideal with both sweet and savory toppings. Here, Maria Helm Sinskey serves it on garlic toasts garnished with olives and a tangy sun-dried-tomato relish.