Chef Steven Satterfield
Chef Steven Satterfield

Steven Satterfield

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurant: Miller Union (Atlanta) Experience: Floataway Café (Atlanta), Watershed (Decatur, GA) Education: BS in architecture, Georgia Tech Up next: A cookbook geared toward shopping at local farmers’ markets (scheduled for publication in spring 2015, by HarperWave). Who taught you how to cook? What is the most important thing you learned from him or her? From an early age, I watched my grandmother in the kitchen. She was an intuitive cook, who just knew how to can and preserve and make great pickles. She didn’t really follow recipes. She taught me basics like how to make biscuits, but also how to use my senses and trust my instincts. What was the first dish you ever cooked by yourself? When I was young, I cooked a lot and didn’t really think about it. I was a vegetarian in college and cooking a ton of vegetables. I used to make a bean-and-cheese pasta, which might sound weird, but it was great for a student. What is the best dish for a neophyte cook to try? I’m trying to teach new cooks to use more fresh market produce. If you have a pizza stone, it’s easy to make pizza dough and throw some vegetables on it. Quinoa, pasta and farro are also ideal carb-filled vessels for vegetables from the market. Who is your food mentor? What is the most important thing you learned from him or her? Scott Peacock at Watershed spent a lot of time with me; I was lucky, because that doesn’t happen in every kitchen. I learned a lot about traditional Southern cooking. He also taught me to think about possible outcomes—about what could go wrong—in order to steer a dish in the right direction. Favorite cookbook of all time.Tender, by Nigel Slater. Also Deborah Madison’s, Alice Waters’s and David Tanis’s books. What’s the most important skill you need to be a great cook? Understanding a technique or a classic dish can free you to use it anywhere. That’s the way the best creations are made: starting with a foundation, then tweaking it to create something new—or newish. Is there a culinary skill or type of dish that you wish you were better at? I wish I was a better pastry chef, but I’m just not patient enough. What is the best bang-for-the-buck ingredient, and how would you use it? Mushrooms can add umami when there’s no meat. Roasting mushrooms deepens flavors and can add a nice texture. What is your current food obsession? Vegetables. I like chilling cooked vegetables. Whether they were poached, roasted or grilled first, chilling them turns them into a different animal. Lately I’ve been working with carrots, Asian turnips, asparagus, radishes and fennel. Name three restaurants you are dying to go to in the next year. In San Francisco, State Bird Provisions; in New York, Pearl and Ash, and Mas Farmhouse; in Memphis, Kelly English’s Restaurant Iris, and Hog and Hominy. What do you consider your other talent(s) besides cooking? I grew up playing classical woodwind instruments. I later taught myself to play guitar and contemporary music. I also have a design background and studied architecture. If you could invent a restaurant for your next (imaginary) project, what would it be? A casual lunch counter where I could make whatever I feel like and that’s what people are eating that day. We’d be open from noon to 7 p.m. We’d serve late lunch and early dinner. And it would be closer to the Georgia coast, where I grew up. If you were facing an emergency, and could take only one backpack of supplies, what would you bring, and what would you make? I’d grab a jar of almond butter, some crackers and cheese, and my cat, put everything in the backpack and run. What ingredient will people be talking about in five years? Some of the things that are overlooked now—like scallions, celery or some kind of a fish that’s not being eaten much yet. Name two or three dishes that define who you are. Baked egg and celery cream. It’s a simple farm egg that’s baked in seasoned cream and accompanied by toasted bread. We take celery, shallots, onion, thyme, bay, black pepper, and add fresh cream to it, heat it and then let it steep. We remove the seasonings. We take the flavored cream and bake it with an egg, finish it under the broiler, then dip grilled bread into it. It’s so comforting and delicious. Our vegetable plate changes with the seasons: beets, braised greens, roasted carrots, turnips and fennel; fried okra, summer squash, you name it. We cycle through vegetables, and the brussels sprouts are always in demand. Creamed rice. It’s like a Southern risotto. We start with Carolina Gold rice, which is like a chameleon, because it makes a great pilaf, great sticky rice and good risotto. I toast the rice in butter and olive oil, then deglaze it with white wine, allowing the liquid to be absorbed slowly. I add a vegetable or chicken stock, parcooking the rice until it’s swollen but still crunchy. Then we finish it with more stock and a little cream, and add lots of vegetables. We serve it with a poached egg on top. It’s hot and steamy and the vegetables cook in the rice. We add country ham, and I love the salt. What do you eat straight out of the fridge, standing up? What is your favorite snack? Cheese and crackers or almond butter and crackers. That’s my favorite snack. I make smoothies every morning with frozen organic fruit, kefir and protein powder, chug it and go. I like to eat radishes a lot. I make radish sandwiches with butter and Maldon salt on the crusty end of a bread loaf. Best new store-bought ingredient or product? NuttZo spread. It’s made of seven different kinds of nuts and flax seeds, and you have to store it upside down. Do you have any food superstitions, or pre- or post-shift rituals? Sometimes if I’m picking herbs, I’ll throw the stems into the wood underneath the grill. Also, I can’t relax until my station is set up. Post-shift, I like to sit down to a meal and a glass of wine. I’ll eat off the menu and check in with how dishes are being made. I’ll eat with the dining room manager, or my business partner. It’s a good time to go over stuff—or for me to learn more about wine from our sommelier.
White Bean Stew
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Making this slightly smoky bean stew is very easy: Just sauté vegetables: add water, ham hock and beans; then let everything simmer. Mixing in a garlic mayonnaise and bitter greens at the table provides additional flavor and depth. More Dishes with Beans
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Squash-and-Kale Toasts
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Steven Satterfield is a huge fan of kale—especially when it's combined with sweet roasted squash. Look for Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or Dinosaur kale) when possible; it's tender and tasty.Plus: Appetizer Tips and Recipes More Quick Appetizers
Curly leaf spinach has great texture and flavor and holds this mustardy dressing well. For additional color, feel free to use a variety of different colored beets. You can also swap blood oranges for the tangerines. More Great Salads
These tart and aromatic plump blackberries are delicious in salads or served alongside cured meats and other charcuterie. Slideshow: Recipes for Blackberries 
Silky Cauliflower Soup
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This silky cauliflower soup is the ideal meal during a cold winter night.
Sautéed Mustard Greens
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Serve these greens with Steven Satterfield's White Bean Stew.
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Parsley Pistou
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Serve this flavorful pistou with Steven Satterfield's Classic Split Pea Soup. Plus: F&W's Herb Guide
Pan-Fried Potato Croutons
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Use these crispy potato croutons to garnish Steven Satterfield's Chunky Tomato Soup.
Sautéed Mustard Greens
Rating: Unrated
New!
Serve these greens with Steven Satterfield's White Bean Stew.
Parsley Pistou
Rating: Unrated
New!
Serve this flavorful pistou with Steven Satterfield's Classic Split Pea Soup. Plus: F&W's Herb Guide
Pan-Fried Potato Croutons
Rating: Unrated
New!
Use these crispy potato croutons to garnish Steven Satterfield's Chunky Tomato Soup.
Herb Salad
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Garlic Mayonnaise
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Use this garlicky mayonnaise to top Steven Satterfield's White Bean StewMore Hearty Stews
Feta-and-Radish Toasts
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Steven Satterfield's restaurant, Miller Union, serves some combination of feta and radishes almost every day. He says you can use any assortment of radishes for these toasts, like watermelon, pink beauty, cherry belle or d'Avignon. If you slice the radishes ahead of time, keep them in a bowl of ice water, which makes them extra cold and crispy. Quick Appetizers
Fennel-Orange Gremolata
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Use this gremolata to top Steven Satterfield's Chunky Tomato SoupFast Soups
Dijon-Roasted Cauliflower
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Use this roasted cauliflower to garnish Steven Satterfield's Silky Cauliflower Soup.Plus: Vegetable Tips and Recipes More Vegetable Dishes
Classic Split Pea Soup
Rating: Unrated
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"I haven't met a bean or pea that I didn't love," says Steven Satterfield. Here he soaks split peas for an hour before simmering them in the soup, so they're more tender and the soup is smoother. More Fantastic Soups
Chunky Tomato Soup
Rating: Unrated
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For the best texture in this vibrant tomato soup, puree half of the soup until smooth, then stir it into the chunky base. More Fantastic Soups
Cabbage-and-Mushroom Toasts
Rating: Unrated
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You'll need a knife and fork for these hearty, luscious toasts from chef Steven Satterfield. The cabbage topping would also be delicious as a side dish for roast porkQuick Appetizers
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