Chef Schenardi's $20 Menu

Recipes for Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms, Open-Faced Ravioli with Shrimp and Tomatoes, Seared Salmon and Green Beans, and Fruit Crepes

click to enlarge Chef Schenardi's polenta - Brian Ries
Brian Ries
Chef Schenardi's polenta

Polenta with Sauteed Mushrooms

2 tbs instant polenta

2 tbs olive oil

1 pint crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced parsley

1/2 cup demi-glace (you can substitute reduced chicken or beef stock, or 1/4 cup red wine)

Salt and pepper

1. Prepare polenta according to package directions. Pour into a square baking pan, pushing polenta to the side to ensure it stays approximately 1/2-3/4-inch thick. Refrigerate.

2. After it hardens, maybe 15 minutes, unmold it from the pan and slice into squares. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat and slowly fry the polenta until barely golden brown on both sides.

3. Saute mushrooms over medium-high heat, season with salt and pepper, tossing frequently. After they release their liquid and cook almost through, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to one minute. Add demi-glace (or other option) and boil long enough to reduce slightly (a little longer if you aren't using demi-glace or previously reduced stock). Add parsley and remove from heat.

4. Layer two pieces of polenta in a wide bowl, and pour mushroom mixture around and across.

Open-Faced Ravioli

6 shrimp

2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1 tbs butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs chopped parsley

1. Put flour in bowl and make a well. Lightly beat eggs and pour into center of flour. Gradually incorporate flour into eggs until you form a ball of stiff dough. Knead dough on floured counter for a few minutes. Set aside to rest, covered for 15 minutes. Roll through pasta machine, or roll out with a rolling pin until pasta is almost see through. Cut into four squares, approx. 6x6 inches.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta sheets in water (fresh pasta cooks very quickly, so they should be done in just a couple of minutes.) Set pasta aside. Melt butter in pan over medium-low heat, add tomatoes and garlic and cook until fragrant (take care not to burn garlic). Add shrimp and cook until just done. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

3. Dip a square of pasta into the shrimp pan to coat with sauce and spread it onto the plate, top with shrimp and tomatoes and another square, also dipped in sauce, folded in half. Pour the remaining sauce over the top,

Seared Salmon with Green Beans

2 small salmon filets, skin-on

1/2 lb green beans, cleaned

1/2 onion, sliced thin

2 tbs butter

1 tbs capers

1/2 plum tomato, diced

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until just done, approx. 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs butter over medium to medium-low heat. Add onion and cook slowly until tender. Add green beans and cook for a minute, tossing to coat with onions and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of salmon filets with salt and pepper and add to pan, skin side down. Cook until skin is crisp but not burnt, a few minutes, then flip. Once the other side has developed a crust and the interior is medium rare, place filets on top of green beans mixture.

3. Melt 1 tbs butter in pan over medium heat, add tomatoes and capers and sauté briefly. Use as sauce around fish and green beans.

Fruit Crepes

1 mango, diced

1 kiwi fruit, diced

6 strawberries, sliced

1 tbs butter

1 tbs sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1. Mix flour, milk and butter into a loose batter. Heat a pan over medium heat and add a dash of oil. Pour in enough crepe batter to lightly cover the bottom of the pan, removing it from the stove and tilting to spread the batter. Cook until it has just set, the flip. Cook very briefly, and remove from the pan. Repeat to make four crepes.

2. Melt butter in pan over medium-low heat. Add fruit and sugar. Cook until sugar is melted and fruit gives up some juice, a few minutes at most. Dip crepes into pan to cover with sauce, then fold and plate, with additional fruit and sauce inside, on top, or on the side.

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