Savor the Summer

Renowned chefs Bernard Guillas and Jeffrey Strauss share their favorite seasonal dishes at home By Mia Park | Photography by Vincent Knakal

Posted July 31, 2020

“You are what you eat!” says Bernard Guillas, executive chef of The Marine Room and La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. He’s back at work, overseeing The Shores Restaurant’s outdoor dining, as well as the property’s to-go offerings. But the reality is that, like the rest of us, he’s spent a lot of time at home in recent months. In his Encinitas backyard, the Maître Cuisinier de France shares how he’s been staying well.

Chef Bernard Guillas salting his food on the grill

Executive Chef Bernard Guillas

 

“You need to create a daily routine and not deviate from it,” says Guillas, whose regimen includes meditation, yoga, working out, reading, gardening, and eating a well-balanced diet. “Delicious Alaskan king salmon with fragrant aromatic herbs is my favorite dish to prepare, and sweet corn fennel relish and grilled peaches bring balance to this summer feast,” he says. “My grandmother’s caramelized apricot cake is my favorite summer sweet as I learned this recipe when I was about seven years old in Bretagne.”

Guillas points out that our local farmers markets are bountiful at this time of the year and the perfect opportunity for families to explore and gather beautiful, locally grown and harvested ingredients. “Life is delicious; taste it every day and live it well,” he says.

Colorful food in a lush backyard setting

 


Herb Roasted Wild King Salmon with Red Quinoa Corn Fennel Relish

Serves 6

Rooted in fishing tradition, the aboriginals of the Alaskan west coast have always worshipped salmon.  The first caught salmon is shared ceremonially, and its bones are returned to sea to ensure an abundant salmon run. King salmon, also called Chinook salmon, is the largest of all Pacific salmon and can be found on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Northern California.  It is the official state fish of Alaska. Wild King salmon return from their long voyage at sea to spawn in the river of their birth.

Bon Appetit!
Executive Chef Bernard Guillas
The Marine Room, La Jolla

 

King Salmon:

6-7 oz. center cut king salmon fillets, skin on, scaled, boneless
2 Tbsp avocado oil
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
6 thyme sprigs
6 oregano sprigs
6 sage leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil spray

Generously season salmon with salt and pepper. Transfer skin side down to a paper towel lined plate.  Refrigerate 30 minutes. Add oil to a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Spray skin of salmon lightly with canola oil. Add salmon skin side down onto skillet. Sprinkle thyme, oregano, and sage over fish. Cook 2 minutes or until skin is crispy and lightly brown. Turn fish over. Add butter. As the butter melts it will become foamy and lightly brown. Spoon butter and herbs atop fish often during the cooking process. Cook 3 minutes, or until fish is slightly underdone. Transfer fish and herbs to serving platter.

 

 

Relish:

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp avocado oil
2 ears sweet corn, shaved
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced zucchini
1 green apple, peeled, diced
1 Tbsp agave
1 tangerine, juiced, zested
2 Tbsp finely chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a colander under cold running water. Add stock and salt to sauce pot over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Stir quinoa into stock and return to simmer. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Spread quinoa onto baking sheet to cool. Add avocado oil to skillet over medium heat. Add corn, fennel, onion, and zucchini. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Combine with quinoa and remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving dish.

 

Peaches:

6 ripe donut peaches
2 tsp avocado oil
sea salt and smoked paprika
1 Tbsp agave

Heat grill to medium high. Cut peaches in half and remove stone. Brush peaches with oil. Grill 3 minutes on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle agave atop. Sprinkle with salt and paprika and serve aside salmon.

Herb Roasted Wild King Salmon with Red Quinoa Corn Fennel Relish

Herb Roasted Wild King Salmon with Red Quinoa Corn Fennel Relish

 

 


 

Caramelized Apricot Cake with Clover Honey Fromage Blanc

Serves 8 family style

As a young boy, I grew up in the village of Pleucadeuc, surrounded by farms, diverse fruit orchards, and tree nuts. Apricots and peaches ripen during the summertime in Bretagne, France. My grandmother MarieAnge was celebrated for her “slow food” principles, culinary delights, and her mastery of ingredients harvested in her garden or from local growers. They are the highlight of many dishes, from sweet to savory, and a favorite for this easy and delicious cake. For this recipe, find locally grown, organic apricots and try the cake with a glass of sparking rosé.

Bon Appetit!
Executive Chef Bernard Guillas
The Marine Room, La Jolla

 

Caramel:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp water

Add all ingredients to 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until golden brown. Remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes or until caramel is hardened.

 

Apricots:

12 apricots, halved, pitted
1 orange, zested
1/4 tsp ground allspice
24 whole almonds
1/4 cup apricot brandy

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Place one almond in the center of each apricot half. Arrange apricots onto caramel in skillet, almond side down. Reserve remaining brandy mixture for batter.

 

Batter:

4 large eggs, separated
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup cake flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, 2 Tbsp sugar, and reserved brandy mixture until it is thick and ribbony. Stir in flour. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into yolks using a rubber spatula. Pour batter evenly over the apricots. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes. Place skillet over high heat for 15 seconds or until the caramel loosens and cake moves freely in the pan. Place large serving platter on top of skillet. Carefully and quickly invert cake onto serving platter. Cut into wedges.

 

Fromage Blanc:

1/2 cup fromage blanc or ricotta cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/8 tsp flaky sea salt
2 Tbsp clover honey

Whisk fromage blanc, pepper, and fleur de sel until well combined. Transfer to serving bowl. Drizzle honey atop.

 

Carmelized Apricot Cake with Clover Honey Fromage Blanc

 

 


 

During this extended time at home these last few months, Jeffrey Strauss, executive chef and owner of Pamplemousse Grille, says he and his wife have been taking advantage of being together, walking daily, and cooking together nightly. “Well, I cook and Mayo cleans,” he clarifies. “And we walk anywhere from four to seven miles a day, with one day off.”

Executive Chef Jeffrey Strauss with food in his backyard

Executive Chef Jeffrey Strauss

Strauss says that they’ve only brought in food twice since the pandemic started, which demonstrates just how much he’s been cooking on their ocean view deck in Solana Beach. “I’m a big fan of the Rec Tec pellet smokers but have been using my neighbor’s Yoder Smoker, which is also a pellet smoker,” he says. Summertime go-to meals include smoked pork ribs, BBQ brisket, all-meat lasagna, Jamaican lamb patties, and grilled lobster, to name just a few, with different salads nightly. “Obviously these are not low-calorie dinners, but I have still lost around 30 pounds.”

Beyond cooking, Strauss encourages exercise, patience, and a mantra of “love thy neighbor and anyone that’s living in your home.” But on that note, he adds, “PS: My wife can’t wait until I go back to work!” Fortunately, Pamplemousse is slated to re-open in October.   Mia S. Park

Photography by Vincent Knakal