Trout Tagine With Ras El Hanout and Corn Broth

Serves 3.

Note: Tagine, a type of dish found in the North African cuisines of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, is named after the special pot in which it is cooked. The slow-cooked stews are braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. If you don't have a tagine pot, this recipe could also be prepared in a covered baking dish. This is one of the winning recipes in the Chef Challenge from Sameh Wadi of Saffron restaurant. The recipe calls for a Moroccan spice blend called ras el hanout, which varies considerably depending on who makes it. Wadi uses his own blend of 29 spices that he sells at Saffron and online at Other blends can be used and would be available at Middle Eastern stores, as well as at Kitchen Window (3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-824-4417). The blend typically includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chile peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and turmeric. If not using Wadi's spice mix, adjust the amount to your taste.

• 2 c. corn stock (see directions below)

• 3 ( 5-oz.) pieces rainbow trout or similar fish

• 2 tbsp. ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice blend, see Note), divided

• 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

• 1 large onion, sliced thin

• 3 c. fresh corn kernels

• 6 baby zucchini, halved

• 12 baby patty-pan squash, whole

• 1 c. yellow wax beans, blanched and cut into 1-in. pieces

• Salt to taste

• 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

• 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice


To make 2 cups corn stock: Simmer several corn cobs (from the fresh kernels you will use in this dish) with water, onions, garlic and salt for 30 to 45 minutes on medium. Strain and season with a pinch of salt.

To prepare fish: Marinate fish with a pinch of ras el hanout spice and a drizzle of olive oil for 15 minutes and reserve in the refrigerator.

Heat remaining oil in tagine or large pot. Add garlic, onion and corn; cook on low heat. Add zucchini, patty-pan squash and beans. Then season with salt and remaining ras el hanout spice. Add corn stock and reduce liquid by a quarter, with pot uncovered.

Season the fish with salt and place in the tagine with the fresh cilantro. Cook for 3 minutes on high with the cover on. Add the lemon juice and serve.


Heirloom Tomato Salad With Tomato Vinaigrette

Serves 4.

• 5 heirloom tomatoes, (3 sliced thinly, plus 2 whole for vinaigrette), divided

• 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 1/4 jalapeno (no seeds)

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1/2 pint (2 cups) raspberries

• A few fresh basil leaves


To make vinaigrette: Char 2 tomatoes over flame until mostly black. Do not rinse off the charred bits. In a blender, combine tomatoes with vinegar, olive oil, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Pour over sliced tomatoes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, raspberries, salt and pepper.


Melon Soup

Serves 4.


• 1 muskmelon, peeled and cut in chunks

• 1/4  c. ice

• 1/4  c. water

•  Juice from about 1 1/2 limes

• Honey, to taste

• 1/2  pint (2 c.)  raspberries

• Freshly cracked black pepper

• Few sprigs of mint


Combine muskmelon, ice, water, lime juice and a bit of honey (amount will depend on how sweet the melon is) in blender. Purée on high; add more water for desired consistency, then taste (adjusting honey, if needed) and strain.

To serve, place soup in bowls and garnish with raspberries, a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper and mint leaves. Serve cold.


Deconstructed BLT Soup

Serves 4.
From Jack Riebel of Butcher & the Boar.
Beer Cheese Soup:
• 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
• 1½ c. chopped onion
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tsp. salt
• 48 oz.. (6 c.) beer
• 3 c. Gouda cheese, grated
• 3 c. Havarti, grated
Tomato and bacon garnish:
• 8 slices bacon (Riebel used Thielens)
• 1 c. diced bread
• 1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, blanched and cut into large pieces
• 2 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
• 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, divided
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tbsp. olive oil, or to taste
• 1 sprig fresh basil
• 1 green onion, sliced thin
• 1 jalapeno sliced thin
Sweat garlic, onion, olive oil and salt over low heat just until sizzling. Add beer and simmer 10 minutes. Pour into blender and blend until smooth. Add cheese and blend until smooth. Pass through strainer; set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan set over medium high heat, brown bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel and drain.
Reserving the fat in the pan, return pan to heat and add diced bread and cook until crisp but not burned. Add oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve.
Place tomatoes into a bowl ; stir in 1 tablespoon each of maple syrup and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Tear basil leaves and stir into tomatoes.
Place the remaining vinegar and maple syrup into the sauté pan. Return to heat. Add cooked bacon and stir, reducing liquid to a syrup. Season liberally with pepper and reserve.
To assemble: Divide tomatoes among 4 bowls. Garnish with bacon, croutons, green onions and sliced jalapenos. Pour beer-cheese soup around edges, and serve.