What happens when you pit one pro against another in the kitchen?
You end up with terrific food in all its fresh glory. That was the case at the Minneapolis Farmers Market recently during its second annual Master of the Market chef competition.
In one corner, chef Mike DeCamp of La Belle Vie held forth. In the other, chef Sarah Master of Barbette reigned supreme to win the “master” designation.
But we all came out winners with the results, which you can cook at home.
Race to the finish
At the market, the chefs had only 20 minutes to find ingredients among the aisles of vendors at the Lyndale Avenue site. Then the clock started ticking for 30 minutes of meal prep before the judges (which included me) had a taste.
For DeCamp, it was an elegant variation of gazpacho, based on strawberries and watermelon, with the addition of the more traditional vegetables (cucumbers, peppers, tomato) for this classic chilled soup, all served over burrata (a mozzarella style of cheese). On the side, he served a fried duck egg garnished with a bit of baby zucchini and radish.
For Master, it was a three-piece display of market surprises that included a pork loin, smoked trout and Dijon mustard among her ingredients. (Where did the mustard come from? She bought a hot dog from a vendor and incorporated the mustard from there.)
Her dishes offered a heightened sense of layered flavors. There was a tiny goblet of cantaloupe gazpacho, accented with Thai chile for a wake-up bite. Smoked trout topped a kohlrabi slaw tossed with cucumber and red onion (who knew kohlrabi made such a terrific slaw?). And there were slices of pork loin topped with seared cherries and new potatoes, and a sprinkle of sautéed leeks.
All this food — prepared in half an hour, with a little help from an assistant. You can do it in your kitchen, too, with these recipes.
Follow Lee Svitak Dean on Twitter: @StribTaste