Chef Jerry Traunfeld
Chef Jerry Traunfeld

Jerry Traunfeld

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurant: Poppy, Seattle Experience: The Herbfarm, Woodinville, WA; Alexis Hotel, Seattle; Stars, San Francisco Education: California Culinary Academy What is your signature dish? The recipe I’m most famous for is slow-roast salmon with spring herb sauce. You roast it at a low temperature, between 225 and 250 degrees, which is a simple and a foolproof way to cook salmon, but you have to use wonderful, fresh wild salmon. My tip for the sauce, which is a very light butter sauce, is at the end you throw in tons of fresh herbs. Be exuberant with the herbs and chop them coarsely. My top choices are chervil, chives, lemon thyme and lovage, but there’s a huge variety and you can use basil, tarragon and parsley. What is the first dish you ever cooked? Julia Child’s potato leek soup. I was 11 or 12 years old; I was watching a lot of Julia Child on television, she was making this soup and it looked like fun. My mom was all for my making it, and the soup came out great, or at least they said it did. For a neophyte cook, soup is great, because it’s all about balancing flavor and you can learn about that and about chopping. What is your favorite cookbook of all time? I have many favorite cookbooks of all time, including Julia Child’s The French Chef; The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas; From a Breton Garden, by Josephine Araldo and Robert Reynolds; Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book; The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, by Grace Young; Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni; and Paula Wolfert’s books. It’s too hard to choose just one. What is the most important skill you need as a chef? The most important skill you need to be a great cook is timing. Everything is based on timing. How long to keep the fish in the pan, when to start the peas if you’re adding them to the pasta, and on and on. Timing’s something you really have to have a sense of to be a good cook. What is the best bang-for-the-buck ingredient? Dried beans. In the winter I’ll cook a big batch of heirloom beans with some aromatics and then I’ll eat them all week. I’ll prepare them with some nice sausage, as bean cakes, in a soup or with a pasta dish. They’re really versatile, and cost almost nothing. What are you obsessed with cooking right now? I’ve been obsessed lately with Chinese cooking, and I use tons of recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s new book Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking. I’m going on a tour of China with her in October. Grace Young’s books are also hugely inspiring. I am really interested in Sichuan cooking. The thing that I’m really learning is the simplicity of Chinese cooking, and that you can always taste the ingredient, it’s not hidden. What do you snack on from the refrigerator? I always have kimchi in the refrigerator. My favorite snack is Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips.
White Beans with Onion Confit
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Chef Way Jerry Traunfeld soaks dried white beans overnight before boiling them and stewing them with caramelized onions, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and rosemary.Easy Way Instead of soaking white beans, use ready-to-eat canned cannellini beans. More Amazing Vegetarian Dishes
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For this singular stir-fry, chef Jerry Traunfeld combines sweet shrimp with salty bacon, then adds hot chiles, vermouth and a healthy dose of fresh mint. Amazing Seafood Recipes
Chef Way Jerry Traunfeld toasts and grinds whole coriander seeds before pureeing them with roasted cauliflower, tahini paste, lemon and cilantro.Easy Way Use ground coriander from a bottle to season this bright, tangy recipe. Party Dips and Spreads
Roast Chicken
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More roast chicken recipes have made their way through the F&W Test Kitchen over the years than we can count, but this one from chef-owner Jerry Traunfeld of The Herbfarm near Seattle, which was first published in F&W in July 1999, is memorable because of its garlicky-herb flavor and delicious pan juices. Bruising fresh bay leaves by holding both ends and twisting in opposite directions makes them more potent. If fresh bay leaves are unavailable, use fresh sprigs of thyme or marjoram. Amazing Chicken Recipes
This vegetable-loaded pasta is equally delicious warm or cold. Jerry Traunfeld created it with the Eastern Mediterranean staples of cauliflower and bell peppers, which taste great together, especially when tossed in a garlicky walnut pesto.More Pasta Recipes
This light fondue is made with sabayon, a frothy custard that gets whisked in a bowl over the pot of simmering water used to cook the potatoes. The fondue is silky, slightly tangy and sublime with the warm potatoes—or even with chunks of bread. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
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Chef Way Dried porcini mushrooms flavor these crisp, creamy-centered croquettes, which Jerry Traunfeld serves in walnut-size balls.Easy Way Use shiitake mushrooms in place of porcini, and make the croquettes larger for a vegetarian main course. More Delicious Fried Foods Amazing Vegetarian Dishes
Chef Jerry Traunfeld, inspired by a trip through India, flavored this creamy chickpea salad with aromatic herbs and Indian spices, among them mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. Slideshow:  More Indian Recipes 
Chef Way Dried porcini mushrooms flavor these crisp, creamy-centered croquettes, which Jerry Traunfeld serves in walnut-size balls.Easy Way Use shiitake mushrooms in place of porcini, and make the croquettes larger for a vegetarian main course. More Delicious Fried Foods Amazing Vegetarian Dishes
Chef Jerry Traunfeld, inspired by a trip through India, flavored this creamy chickpea salad with aromatic herbs and Indian spices, among them mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. Slideshow:  More Indian Recipes 
The dressing for the herb salad is flavored with shallots, which lose some of their pungency and turn sweet when marinated in vinegar.
Sorrel is a leafy green resembling baby spinach with a lively, mildly sour taste. It's perfect with the delicate morsels of crab and the creamy avocado. If you can't find sorrel, Jerry Traunfeld suggests swapping in the same amount of basil or 1/4 cup of fresh dill. Amazing Seafood Recipes
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These soufflés remain moist thanks to the juicy crabmeat. Amazing Seafood Recipes
Chive Oil
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This oil can be used as a sauce for basting grilled fish—it makes a nice crust—and as a sauce for serving.
Bean-and-Leek Cassoulet
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"I love cooking the hell out of leeks," Jerry Traunfeld says. "They get this melty, rich quality and saucy consistency." In this luscious dish, he combines the slow-cooked leeks with meaty porcini mushrooms and cranberry beans (a.k.a. borlotti or shell beans), which can be found fresh in early autumn and taste like chestnuts. The dish can easily be adapted for carnivores by adding bits of crispy bacon or that key cassoulet ingredient, duck confit.More Bean Recipes