Shoulder Season Recipes from Chef Francis

The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards’ Executive Chef shares his secrets to help you move gracefully from winter to spring in the kitchen.

Butternut and Balsamic Grain Salad

4 ounces quinoa, cooked
4 ounces barley, cooked
1 orange, zested, peeled and diced
4 ounces butternut squash, peeled, diced and roasted
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces dried cranberries
2 ounces sliced almonds, toasted
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the orange zest, Dijon mustard and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while stirring with a whisk until emulsified and smooth. Add all remaining ingredients into mixing bowl and toss to evenly coat with dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To transform from a side to hearty main dish, add grilled chicken, salmon or pork tenderloin.

Asparagus Soup with Crab, Truffle and Lemon

3 pounds asparagus, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 cups vegetable stock
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 ounces plain Greek yogurt
6 ounces lump crab meat
2 tablespoons truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pot over medium heat, sauté diced yellow onion in olive oil for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add vegetable stock and chopped asparagus and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until asparagus is very tender but still green. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Working in batches, puree the soap in a blender until smooth. Return to sauce pot and stir in lemon juice and yogurt.

If desired, garnish with lemon zest, crab meat and truffle oil to serve.

Snapper Provencal

1 ounce olive oil
2 ounces all-purpose flour
2 ounces corn starch
2 6- to 8-ounce portions of cleaned snapper
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon capers
4 Kalamata olives, sliced and pitted
1 tablespoon shallots, finely diced
4 leaves of fresh basil, chiffonade cut
4 ounces white wine
1 tablespoon cold butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Season snapper filets with salt and pepper. Mix together flour and corn starch in pan and lightly coat snapper filets with this mixture. In a sauté pan, heat oil on medium to high heat. Carefully place fish in pan. Cook fish for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown and gently turn over. Add shallots, capers, olives and tomatoes and cook for 2 additional minutes.

Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce by half the volume. Remove fish filets from the pan. Check sauce for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Add cold butter and fresh basil, stirring until butter melts.

Plate snapper filets and spoon pan sauce directly on fish.

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