Uncle Harry’s Calypso Shrimp

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

This is a dish I ‘ve been cooking for years. It’s named after my Uncle Harry who used to come to visit us with my Aunt Selma at our restaurant The New Deal, in SoHo in Manhattan.

Each time he came to visit, he’d decline the regular menu and would ask the server if I would create something special. We had a lot of fun with the variety of dishes I’d make for him. One night, I put together this shrimp dish and it just hit the spot for him. The next time I knew he was coming in, I added a special on the menu called “Uncle Harry’s Calypso Shrimp”. From then on, it was his dish. It eventually made it on our regular menu and has continued been part of my repertoire for the last 25 years.

It’s a great hors d’oeuvre or starter course.

yield: 6 portions

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 36 each   shrimp (sized at 16-20 per pound, peeled and cleaned)
  • 1/2 cup  raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup   peanuts (shelled, chopped, unsalted!!)
  • 1/4 cup   golden brown sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons Meyers Dark Rum
  • 3 Tablespoons Chardonnay
  • 1 ea    Lemons, cut in half, for juice
  • 1 Tablepoon  Spice mixture (see below)
  • To taste  salt and pepper


  1. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add butter, brown sugar, peanuts, spice mixture and raisins in that order, with the butter on the bottom and the rest of the ingredients on top. When butter starts to melt, stir once or twice and wait for the mixture to begin to foam. While the mixture is foaming, add the shrimp and a little bit of salt and pepper.
  2. Toss until the shrimp start to turn pink in color, then remove the pan from the flame, and (while still hot) add the rum and the Chardonnay. Immediately return to the flame and tip the pan so that the evaporating alcohol catches fire and creates flames in and above the pan. Toss a few times and add lemon juice.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until shrimp are cooked through and the “sauce” has slightly reduced and thickened enough to coat the shrimp. Serve in a bowl with lemon wedges, on a banana leaf or in a martini glass.

Spice Mix

  • 2 parts Cardamon
  • 2 parts Clove
  • 1 part coriander
  • 1 part Cinnamon
  • 1 part Nutmeg
  • 1/2 part Cayenne
  • 1/2 part Allspice

Directions: Use all ground spices, combine and store in an airtight container in a dark, dry place.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Cherry Tomato Relish

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Yield: 6

This dish offers a great recipe for a goat cheese filling that can be used in raviolis as well as squash blossoms. Also, the Cherry Tomato Relish makes a great stand-alone salad. Instead of using vinegar, I reduce some Sauvignon Blanc for the favor and acid that makes this dish unique and wine friendly.

  • 6 each squash blossoms
  • 1 cup goat cheese filling
  • 1 box tempura batter
  • 1 bottle sparkling mineral water
  • 3 cups cooking oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomato relish


  1. Gently open the leaves of the squash blossoms and stuff approximately ¼ cup of goat cheese mix into each blossom and gently reform the blossoms. If you have a pastry bag, you may be able to pipe the mixture into the blossom. Keep chilled until ready to use. You can do this the day before.
  2. Preheat a pot with cooking oil to 350 degrees F. Make sure the oil is at least 2” high.
  3. While the oil is pre-heating, follow the directions for a standard tempura batter, replacing the water with sparkling mineral water. If possible, use a mineral water with fine bubbles.
  4. When oil is at the right temperature (350F), place the blossoms 3 at a time into the tempura batter, remove and put carefully in the oil. Raise the heat of the flame slightly as you place in the blossoms. This will help you keep the oil at the correct heat. Be careful not to go above 375 F if possible.
  5. After the first side has gotten golden brown (1 – 2 minutes) flip the blossoms gently over in the oil and cook the second side for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  6. While the first set is cooking, place the second set in the batter, coat,  remove the first set , place them on a paper towel to drain and repeat.
  7. Place 2 Tablespoons of cherry tomato relish on a plate and top with a fried squash blossom. Serve while still hot (you can place in a warm oven if they get a bit too cool).

Goat Cheese Filing

  • 2 Tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1½ cups goat cheese
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons basil and oregano, fresh, finely chopped
  • To taste  salt and pepper


Cook the shallots in butter, remove from the heat. Once cool, combine the rest of the ingredients with the shallots. Season with salt and pepper and chill well.

Cherry Tomato Relish

  • 40 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • To taste coarse sea salt and pepper
  • ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc, reduced to 2 Tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped


  1. Lightly salt the cherry tomato halves, toss a few times, turn them cut side down and let them drain in a colander for 20 – 30 minutes. This gets rid of the excess liquid that would otherwise dilute the flavors of this wonderful yet simple salad.
  2. Put tomato halves in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper only if necessary.

Smoked Salmon Tartare in Wonton Cone

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

24 small appetizers

  • 12 each wonton skins, 2” x 2”, the thinnest ones you can find
  • 6 each metal cornet (cone) molds, 3” length or more
  • 1 each egg white, beaten (for dipping)


  1. Cut each wonton square in half diagonally so you have 2 triangles from each one.
  2. Coat a cornet mold with non-stick spray. Wrap the wonton triangle around the cornet mold to form a small cone. Dip your fingertip in the egg white, unroll the cone you just made slightly and lightly dampen the area where the wonton overlaps itself on the cone. Roll it back to “seal” it. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment or wax paper. Keep the “seam” side down.
  3. Repeat with the rest of the cones. Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden and crisp (approximately 8-10 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool. Gently remove the cone from the mold. Repeat with the rest of the cones.
  4. If you don’t have the molds, you can bake the wonton triangles in the oven to form crisp, flat triangles. This works very well.


  • 1 ounce smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound salmon fillet, very fresh, pin bones and skin removed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chives, minced
  • 1 teaspoon shallots, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, shaved with a microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • to taste Maldon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • pepper mill with black pepper


  1. Place one large mixing bowl on the counter. Place ice and water inside the bowl and then place a second, smaller bowl in the ice/water mixture.
  2. Finely dice the smoked salmon and place in the bowl. Remove any fat from the fresh salmon and finely dice this as well. Place in the bowl with the smoked salmon. Add the chives, shallots and olive oil. Stir gently with a rubber spatula. Set aside and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Just before serving, add the kosher salt, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir gently to combine. Taste and if needed, add a touch of Maldon sea salt or other coarse sea salt.
  3. Place a teaspoon of the salmon mixture in a wonton cone and finish with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and turn of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. A nice way to present these is to fill a bowl with uncooked, dried black beans, then stand up the filled cones in the beans.

Shrimp & Apple Fritters with Curried Salt and Meyer Lemon

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Makes 24 hors d’oeuvre-sized fritters

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted

Place in mixing bowl and mix together with a small whisk

  • 2 each egg yolks
  • 1 each egg white
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water, cold

Add egg whites to the flour mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Next, add the soy sauce and half the water. Stir with a spoon until you have a smooth mixture. Do not over-mix. Add more water, little by little until the batter has the thickness of pancake batter. You do not need to use all the water.

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/3 each red bell pepper, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1 each zest of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon chives, chopped
  • 3/4 each pink lady apple, peeled, core removed and diced small
  • 1 teaspoon  Italian parsley, freshly chopped
  • to taste salt

Add all the above ingredients to the fritter batter and stir gently until evenly mixed. You can tell it is evenly mixed by the way the parsley is distributed into the batter. Again, do not overmix.

  • 1 – 1.5 quarts oil for frying (non trans-fat oil)

Fill and pre-heat a small fryer to 325 degrees (or you can pan-fry these in a cast iron skillet with less oil). Using a tablespoon, gently drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into the fryer and cook until they are golden brown (approximately 5 minutes). Remove, place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil,.

  • 1 each Meyer lemon, cut in half and seed removed
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Curry Powder

Place on a warm serving platter and sprinkle with curry powder and a bit of the Maldon Salt. Then add a few drops of Meyer lemon. The amount of lemon will depend on the wine you are drinking. If you are drinking a Sauvignon Blanc or other wine that has a good amount of acidity, then add extra lemon. If on the other hand, you are drinking a Chardonnay, then use very little lemon.

Proscuitto, Figs, Arugula and Buffalo Mozzarella

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Yield: enough for 8 guests as an hors d’oeuvre

Why cook when your ingredients on their own are so wonderful and when they work so well with wine?

These are great ingredients at their best. Find your best local market and get the best ingredients you can afford. All you have to do is place these ingredients on a platter, show them how to “roll their own” and let your guests help themselves.

  • 16 slices Prosciutto, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Buffalo Mozzarella, cut in quarters and then sliced
  • 1 bag Baby Arugula (you can find this in most produce departments)
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 16 each Figs (Fresh or Dried Black Figs), quartered

Method for rolling:

  1. Cut the prosciutto slice in fourths. Place 2 leaves of arugula on the prosciutto.
  2. Place 1 piece of mozzarella and one piece of the fig. Roll the prosciutto around the entire package, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!
  3. You can also just layer these on to any crisp or soft bread slice for an excellent bruschetta.

Park Avenue’s Pork Mole Empanada

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment


  • 2  lbs   pork shoulder
  • 2 gallons of chicken stock
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 quarts mole
  • 1 bunch fresh scallion
  • 2 batchs empanada dough


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Masa Harina (corn flour mix)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 large eggs

Butter 2 large baking sheets. Mix flour, Masa Harina, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter. Wisk the water and 1 egg in to a small bowl. Add the flour mixture; knead in a bowl until smooth and pliable dough forms.


  • 6 jalapeno peppers
  • 7 tomatoes (large)
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 oz. peanuts
  • 2 oz  peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon coriander
  • 4  garlic cloves
  • 24 oz veal stock


  1. Blend in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Chop the onions and sauté them with olive oil in a large pot until translucent. Add the chicken stock and bring to a light roll. Add the pork butt and let it slowly cook for several hours, until the meat is loose on the bone.
  3. Chill the stock with the pork still in the liquid, overnight.
  4. Remove the pork from the liquid and shred the pork using a fork. Then toss the shredded pork with the mole’ sauce and add fresh scallions.
  5. Work with half the dough at a time. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/8” thick. Cut into 3” circles.
  6. Place the filling to one side of the dough. Fill one half of the dough with a teaspoon of the filling. So, that you are able to fold the other half of the dough over the filling. Using a fork, crimp the dough together.
  7. Brush the top of the dough with an egg wash and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake until golden brown, about  25 minutes. Serve hot.

Pesto Hots

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Makes about 2 dozen

  • 1/2 cup  fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons  minced Italian parsley
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup  Pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup  mayonnaise
  • 1 each  garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 each  baguette (or French bread)


  1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the baguette slices) together until well mixed and fairly smooth.
  2. With a serrated knife, slice the bread into thin (1/4 inch) slices.
  3. Turn oven to broil. Broil bread slices until toasted on top. Remove from broiler and turn over to expose untoasted side. Spread untoasted side with the cheese/basil mixture. Return to broiler and cook until bubbly & golden brown. Serve immediately.

Oysters Baked with a Champagne Sabayon

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Makes 36 hors d’oeuvres

  • 3 each egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 3/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine, reduced to 1/3 cup
  • 3 sticks butter, unsalted, melted and warm
  • To taste salt & pepper
  • 36 each oysters, shucked and on the half-shell
  • 3# rock salt
  • 1 ounce caviar (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons chives, snipped (optional)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 8 each thin slices of pancetta, baked crisp and crumbled large (optional)


  1. Place the egg yolks, lemon juice and the reduced champagne in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk over a pot of simmering water for 5 – 7 minutes until the sauce gets light and airy and begins to thicken. Still over the heat, whisk in the warm melted butter slowly, using only the “clarified” butter on the top and not the milk solids and liquid that is on the bottom. This should give you a thick, creamy “sabayon” or “hollandaise” type sauce. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
  2. Cook the arugula covered in a sauté pan with a few drops of water over medium heat until it wilts. Remove from the pan, squeeze very dry and allow to cook to room temperature.
  3. Pour the rock salt into a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated oven (at 450 degrees) for 5 minutes to warm the rock salt. Remove the baking sheet with the rock salt from the oven and set the bottom shells in the rock salt (this keeps them from tipping while baking). Place a teaspoon of cooked arugula in each shell and a shucked oyster on top of each. Spoon enough “sabayon” over each oyster to cover it completely.
  4. Return the baking sheet with the oysters to the oven and bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until the top of the sabayon starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and top each “sabayon-glazed” oyster with either some caviar and snipped chives or some warm, crumbled, crisp pancetta.
  5. Serve immediately with your favorite sparkling wine.

Oil-Cured Olive and Tomato Bruschetta with Aged Jack Cheese

Posted in Appetizers on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Makes 8 bruschetta

This dish creates balance in Merlot. I use oil-cured olives because they are lower in salt and acid and therefore go better with the wine. The bitterness of the olive and the sweetness of the tomato work to balance the dish and the wine. The Jack cheese brings out the vanilla in the wine. Use a little more or less of these ingredients to bring out the characteristics you particularly want in the wine you are drinking.

You can make these for your guests and serve them warm or cold, or you can let you guests build their own.

  • 10 oil-cured black olives
  • 6 tablespoons diced golden tomato
  • 2 grinds of coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 pound Vella aged Jack cheese, thinly shaved
  • 1/4 baguette, sweet or sourdough
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cut bread into 1/2-inch slices. Drizzle with your favorite extra virgin olive oil. Toast lightly so the bread is warm and only slightly crusty, no more than 1-2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the olives, tomato and salt. Top each piece of bread generously with the olive-tomato mixture and then place a few shavings of cheese on top. Eat as is or toast until the mixture warms up slightly and the cheese melts just a bit.

Olive Oil Poached Duck with Peach-Ginger Chutney

Posted in Appetizers, Entrees on March 3rd, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – 1 Comment

Yield: 6 main course portions or 60 slices for hors d’oeuvres

The Ginger-peach chutney is another great accompaniment you can make and keep in your fridge for a week or so. It pairs very well with the Chardonnay and duck.

The breast meat of the duck is wonderfully tender and full of natural flavor when it is slowly cooked in olive oil. By using a meat thermometer for this low temperature poaching/frying you can make sure it comes out perfectly. The meat comes out clean with no “fried” taste or texture.

I use this same very simple and foolproof technique for olive oil poaching fish (salmon and halibut) as well.

The trick is to keep the temperature of the oil over 125 degrees but under 140 degrees. The result is tender and flavorful.

To give the duck a bit of texture and some extra flavor, I let it cool in the oil (you can do this the day before or earlier that day) and then saute it quickly for just a few minutes to give it a nicely caramelized look and texture on the outside.

  • 4 ea Duck Breast, brined overnight
  • ¼ cup Ginger-Peach Chutney
  • 60 each Wonton squares, 2” x 2”, fried crisp
  • 1½ cup olive oil

Brine the duck breast overnight (see recipe and instructions below).

Remove duck breasts from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat Olive oil in small sauté pan. The level of the olive oil should be enough so the duck breast can be completely covered by the oil when placed in the pan. If needed add a bit more oil.

With your thermometer in the oil, turn the heat to medium low and warm until the oil reaches 150 degrees. Gently place the duck breasts in the oil, making sure the are not touching and they are completely covered by the oil. Cover and occasionally test the oil temperature, adjusting the flame so that oil remains between 125 and 145 degrees.

Cook for 20 minutes or until the middle of the duck breast (in the thickest part) is over 125 degrees. Remove from flame and let the duck cool, covered in the oil until needed.

When ready, preheat a sauté pan with no oil (or pre-heat a grill) to medium high heat. Remove the duck from the oil and allow the excess to drip back into the pan. Saute or grill each breast for approximately 2 minutes per side until they have some color brown color and a bit of texture on the outside. Allow to sit for a few minutes, slice, place on a crisp won ton and top with the Turning Leaf Chardonnay-Ginger-Peach Chutney.


The salt to liquid ratio is very important, so make sure you measure carefully.

  • 1 quart Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Chardonnay
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • ¼ bunch thyme, fresh

Combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer and strain. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Place duck breasts in brine and leave to sit overnight.

Ginger-Peach Chutney

Yield: 2 cups

  • ¼ cup  water
  • ¼  cup Chardonnay
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ea dried chilis
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 each ripe peaches, skin on, pit removed
  • 1Tablespoon raisins
  • 2 each scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Place water, wine, vinegar, ginger, sugar, chilis and salt in a small sauce pan and reduce to 1/3. Add raisins and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the raisins are soft and the liquid is starting to thicken.

Meanwhile, leaving the skin on, cup the peaches into 12 wedges and then slice the wedges so that you have small triangles of peach.

Add the peaches and scallions to the ginger-wine mixture and turn heat to low. Gently stir until the peaches are just heated through. Remove form fire and allow to cool.

This should be chilled and then served with the warm or room temperature duck.