KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Chef Peter Armellino is Executive Chef/Partner at the helm of Plumed Horse in Saratoga and is the proud recipient of the Michelin Star designation. This much celebrated chef presents elegant, modern, “cutting edge” California Cuisine emphasizing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainable sourced fish and shellfish as well as local and organic produce.
The original Plumed Horse in Saratoga opened in 1952, but new owners, a multimillion-dollar facelift, and the addition of Chef/Partner Peter Armellino have made this into an entirely new restaurant. Its cutting-edge design, with a barrel ceiling, color-changing blown-glass chandeliers, and a three-story glass wine cellar create a modern stage for Chef Armellino’s contemporary California-inspired menu.
“Being a Chef is about
passion and teaching others.”
– Chef Peter Armellino
The menu includes interesting “surf and turf” variations such as Monterey red abalone with pork belly, artichokes and a meaty glaze; and sea scallops paired with smoked duck. Some main courses have subtle Asian influences, such as Beijing-style squab with a dried plum sauce and ginger cabbage. Named the Best New Restaurant in 2008 by Esquire, Plumed Horse is a culinary standout in a region that boasts its fair share of culinary masters.
Meet Chef Peter at the upcoming Pebble Beach Food and Wine festival – April 4th – 7th. He’ll be cooking with an old pal and kitchen colleague Richard Reddington (both worked at Jardiniere with Traci Des Jardin).
I ventured south to Chef Peter’s Silicon Valley restaurant for our Foodie Chap chat. We talked about his journey from Long Island to Saratoga and the kitchens where he honed his craft along the way. Surprisingly, as two half Irishmen (Yes myself and Chef) wagged our chins not one pint of Guinness was consumed, no really!!
5 Tasty Questions with Chef Peter Armellino
1) Being a Chef to you is all about?
Passion, being a teacher, being patient, being a disciplinarian, being selfless and trying to show others and give a little piece of yourself.
2) The cookbook you can’t live without?
Jean Louie Palladin “The Four Seasons”
3) In your fridge at home what will I always find?
At lot of hot sauce, a lot of different kinds of mustards, I am a condiment whore.
4) Sound track to your journey one artist one song?
Rolling Stones “Monkey Man”
5) Last super couple of guests, dead or alive, famous or not who will they be and what will you eat?
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, and fried chicken.
Pan Roast Alaskan Halibut
with Green Garlic, Black Trumpet Mushroom Ragout
4 6oz portions of Alaskan halibut filet
1 pound black trumpet mushrooms cleaned of dirt and pine needles
4 oz mushroom bouillon
4 oz Butter
1 T canola oil or preferably clarified butter
1 T Creme fraiche
1 T mascarpone cheese
1 T sherry wine
2 stalks spring green garlic, sliced thinly
4 oz vegetable stock
1) In a small saucepan, melt 1 T butter and add half of the vegetable stock season with salt and pepper and add the thinly sliced green garlic. Cook the garlic till tender and reserve and keep warm.
2) In a medium saucepan, add 1 T butter and saute the black trumpets till all their water has evaporated and they begin to lightly crisp up. Take off the heat add sherry wine remainder of vegetable stock, mushroom bouillon, mascarpone cheese, and creme fraiche, season and reserve.
3) Add clarified butter to a hot 12 inch saute pan, carefully add the halibut filets (patted dry and lightly seasoned with salt) a lot of things will determine whether or not your fish sticks, if the pan is too hot or not hot enough, is it clean and free of any build up. I use French blue steel possioner pans that are very much like non- stick pans, it is a matter of ‘seasoning’ of the pan that produces a superior surface for cooking fish.
4) Lower heat and continue cooking until the fish is lightly colored and their edges begin to shrink, carefully flip the fish over and add the last of the butter and baste the fish with the foaming butter. Lower the heat and continue basting. I check the fish with a cake tester and use a method in which the cake tester is inserted and you feel for resistance (there shouldn’t be any) I also can touch the cake tester to just below my bottom lip and feel if the tester is cold, hot or just warm.
5) Remove the fish from the pan and transfer briefly to paper towels and add a little finish salt.
6) Plate the fish on four hot dinner plates with three little spoonfuls of alternating green garlic ragout and mushroom ragout add some fresh herbs or thinly shaved raw asparagus, fava leaves dressed in some nice fruity California extra virgin olive oil, or whatever feels like spring to you.
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