Making of a Great Salad

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Les Salades Composées

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George's Garden Mesclun Greens

The best salad is not complicated at all, but made with the freshest possible greens and garnishes. Les Salades composées or mixed green salad can be made with from an infinite list, the only consideration is freshness. But you say you bought it fresh. Just because you purchased from the fresh bin at the market does not guarantee the pick date. Consider the source and how far did that head of lettuce travel? 

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George's Garden Sweet and Neat Cherry Tomatoes

Substitute ingredients at will when shopping or picking fresh. 

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George's Garden Snap "Sugar Daddy" Peas

My dad was a Master Gardener, and fresh veggies was always steps away. Here’s inspiration for a salad I prepared today and served from my garden-to-plate in under 5 minutes.

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Chef George's Salad Simples

Salade Simple

Sugar Snap Peas, steam 30 seconds, shock in cold water

Mixed Mesclun Greens

Arugula

Red Kale

Sweet and Neat Cherry Tomatoes

Juice 1/2 lemon

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 

pinch sea salt + a few sprigs fresh mint leaves

Add lemon juice, olive oil, mint and salt in bowl. Mix well. Add all above ingredients, toss and serve immediately.

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Cinco de Mayo Barbecue Burrito

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Join me multiple times weekly + Tune-in GHL CreateTV this Sunday May 6th 8:30AM EST

A quick fix burrito, made even better with yesterdays leftover grilled chicken. And, what a great way to kick off grilling season! Although my grilled chicken burrito recipe is not traditional for Cinco de Mayo - you will still get rave reviews. I have.

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Chicken Barbecue Burrito

Barbecue Burrito

Makes 6 serving

From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch cookbook

2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup Barbecue Chicken Burrito Rub

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

Twelve 10-inch flour tortillas

Season chicken with rub and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pre heat grill to high.

Brush chicken with olive oil, place on grill and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Move the chicken to a cooler side of the grill and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to cool for five minutes. Shred the meat, combine it with barbecue sauce in a small saucepan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on the grill or side burner.

To serve, place 3-4 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of each flour tortilla. Fold each side toward the center and roll up from the bottom. Place the burritos on a medium-hot grill and heat on both sides for a total of 1 to 2 minutes.

Chicken Burrito Rub

Makes 1/3 cup

1 Tablespoon each sweet paprika, oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a tightly covered jar.

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Grilled Spring Spear

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Asparagus is the most revered spring vegetable. The word asparagus comes from the ancient Persian word asparag, meaning a sprout. The ancient Egyptians cultivated asparagus and offered it to numerous gods and the Romans had an expression, “Velocius quam asparagi coquantur”, meaning faster than you can cook asparagus. It was a rare and expensive vegetable in the 1890s in the United States, but then cultivation helped to tame the price. It was inevitable that the asparagus should be treated as an aphrodisiac given its shape, which, an Elizabethan writer remarked, it ‘manifestly provoked Venus.”  

Tips:

Although grown in quite a large scale and in many countries, asparagus is available in abundance from March to late June. There are over 300 varieties of asparagus, only 20 of which are edible. 

They are divided into three main categories: 

Green asparagus. This is the most common type of asparagus. It is harvested at a height of about 8 inches. 

White asparagus. Grown in the dark (covered with soil to keep it from turning green), white asparagus is harvested as soon as it emerges from the ground. Although more tender than the green variety, it tends to be less flavorful, and is more expensive, since more work is required to grow it. 

Purple asparagus: This variety has a fruity flavor and is harvested when only 2 to 3 inches high. 

How to buy asparagus: 

Whether asparagus are thin or thick, choose them with firm, crisp stalks and compact brightly colored heads with no trace of rust or softness. The bottom of the stalk should be moist when squeezed, not dry and woody. Avoid yellowish asparagus with soft stalks that are beginning to flower, these are signs that it is old.

Store asparagus vertically in 1 inches of water in a container, stem-side-down in the refrigerator.

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Serve this easy make-ahead dish as a starter or a side.  The asparagus is enhanced by the marinade and grilling.

Grilled Asparagus

Makes four servings

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George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 pound fresh asparagus

1/4 cup olive oil

juice and zest of 1 lemon

4 cloves

Caramelized Garlic

, chopped

1 Tablespoon  of fresh oregano, chopped

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup calamata olives, pitted and split

Fresh ground black pepper

Cut the stem ends off the asparagus and discard; peel the asparagus up to the beginning of the tip ends with a vegetable peeler. 

Combine a 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano in a shallow rectangular dish. Marinate the asparagus in this mixture for 1 hour. 

Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium temperature.

Remove the asparagus from the marinade and grill for about 5 minutes, basting with the marinade. Turn the asparagus as needed so they do not burn. 

Remove the asparagus from the grill, top with lemon zest, parmesan cheese and olives. Top with remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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My Favorite Risotto

Risotto is a traditional rice dish from Northern Italy, specifically Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. It was introduced by Arabian people who dominated Sicily and parts of the Southern mainland in the late Middle Ages.  

A mainstay of Milanese cuisine, Risotto Milanese is prepared using beef stock and saffron which is served with Osso Bucco. When using rice to make a risotto, choose short-grained round or semi-round rice; among the best rices for making risotto are Arborio, Vialone Nano, and Carnaroli.

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I have enjoyed many excellent prepared risotto dishes. One of the most memorable was made my cousin Mauro’s wife Anna, while in Rome. Anna’s risotto is made with pesto and is meant for basil lovers like myself. Her combination is culinary kismet; the perfume-rich tasty herb coats every grain of rice. The other master of risotto is Chef Antonio Cereda, with his Porcini Risotto. Antonio, my friend from Northern Italy is the Executive Chef on Princess Cruises. His Porcini Risotto marries the mellow earthiness of fungi with creamy velvety rice.

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Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus

Makes 4 servings 

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1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined 

2 teaspoons dried basil 

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

Fresh ground black pepper 

1 small onion, chopped 

4 slices Pancetta, roughly chopped 

1 cup Arborio rice 

2- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot 

3 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped 

1 Tablespoon lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 

1 cup half & half 

1 cup fresh asparagus tips or fresh baby spinach 

Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Pre heat a large sauce pan to medium heat. 

Season shrimp with basil, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shrimp to pan, sear on each side for one minute and set aside. Do not fully cook. 

In the same sauce pan add 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, onion and pancetta. Cook onion and pancetta 4-5 minutes but do not brown. Add Arborio rice and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Slowly add 1/2 cup broth, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Lower temperature to a low, gentle simmer. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently every 4-5 minutes or as rice absorbs all of the broth until rice becomes tender. 

Return seared shrimp back into pan with risotto and cook for two to three minutes, until shrimp is fully cooked or until shrimp turn pink. 

Cooking time will vary from 25-35 minutes, as will the amount of broth, depending on exact temperature of pan. 

Add half and half and fresh Parmesan cheese, to taste. Optional: Serve topped with steamed asparagus tips or fresh baby spinach. 

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
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