Prominent chefs from the 1980s share their exquisite creations, from Jeremiah Tower's vegetable ragout to Allen Susser's Japanese spiced eggplant.
Food & Wine
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Red Snapper Ceviche
Allen Susser prefers to use firm white-fleshed fish like red snapper and grouper, as well as conch and rock shrimp, for ceviches, because they keep their shape well. "Dice the fish into uniform pieces, so they cook evenly in the citrus juice," he advises.
Wolfgang Puck became adept at preparing accessible Asian-flavored dishes at his restaurant, Chinois on Main, which he opened in Santa Monica, California, in 1983. His sweet-and-savory Asian-inspired sauce, which is flavored with hoisin, ginger and soy sauce, is delicious with the tender grilled beef.
Wolfgang Puck uses both creamy grated corn and sautéed kernels to make this satisfying soup, which he serves with a chile-spiked cream. "My young son Oliver loves the sweetness of the corn soup," Puck continues. "But I don't give him any jalapenño crema."
Before creating his culinary empire, Daniel Boulud was chef at New York City's Le Cirque in the 1980s. There are many versions of this exquisite tart from the Pays Basque region of France. Boulud created his with pastry chef Eric Bertoïa: A flaky crust surrounds a pastry cream dotted with brandied cherries.
In his book Braise, Daniel Boulud braises duck legs for several hours until they are meltingly tender and incredibly flavorful. A shortcut: Braising chicken in a liquid that combines onions, carrots, bacon and olives creates complex flavor relatively quickly.
Jeremiah Tower began his cooking career at Chez Panisse in 1972, and in 1984 opened San Francisco's once-celebrated Stars. By the mid-1980s he had become one of America's first celebrity chefs—posing for a Dewar's ad and pausing for autographs. If you don't have time to prepare all of the vegetables called for in Tower's ragout recipe, select at least three, making sure to use a variety of colors.