The hardworking chefs and the best restaurants in the West walked away with coveted industry awards last night.
This year’s edition of the James Beard Awards ceremony was held last night in Chicago. It was a night of emotional speeches and celebration all around that brought together the best in the restaurant industry.
Although C&I’s home state, Texas, was shut out — staff favorite Steven McHugh of Cured in San Antonio was once again passed over for Best Chef: Southwest — the West earned some fancy hardware. Best Chef: Southwest went to Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Arizona. Brady Williams of Canlis in Seattle won Best Chef: Northwest. Providence co-founder and chef Michael Cimarusti, who C&I featured in the August/September 2017 Western Gourmet article “Dock to Dish,” was named Best Chef: West.
Make Cimarusti’s recipe for roasted spot prawns is below.
Benu and Bar Agricole, both of San Francisco, won Best Wine Program and Outstanding Wine Program, respectively. Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, was awarded a James Beard medal for Outstanding Service.
The full list of winners can be found here.
Roasted Spot Prawns
(with roasted tomato, lemon vinaigrette, and salad of herbs)
Recipe courtesy Michael Cimarusti, chef-owner of Connie & Ted’s and Providence in California.
8 large spot prawns
Select the biggest prawns you can find (up to 4 ounces each). Fill a pot with water. Add salt to reach the approximate salinity of the sea, about 3½ percent by volume. Bring the water to a rolling boil, add the prawns and cook them for 30 seconds. Remove the prawns to an ice bath for 2 minutes. Remove the heads from the prawns and peel the tails. Set the tails aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. The heads can be used to make a rich, sweet, and delicious broth.
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut in half
Salt, to taste
2 branches thyme
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place halved tomatoes in a saucepan large enough to fit comfortably in one layer. Cover tomatoes with olive oil and season them with salt and the orange zest. Top with the thyme and bay leaf. Roast for 2 hours.
Remove tomatoes from pan, reserve the oil, and chop tomatoes coarsely. Reserve until you are ready to serve.
2 ounces lemon juice
7 ounces mild extra virgin olive oil
1 coin of peeled ginger, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and allow to steep overnight. Remove ginger. This vinaigrette will hold in your refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Salad of Herbs
1 – 2 hearts of butter lettuce (leaves remain intact)
¼ ounce chervil
¼ ounce cilantro
¼ ounce tarragon
¼ ounce parsley
¼ ounce chives, finely chopped
1 bunch scallion greens, finely sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix the herbs in a bowl with the butter lettuce leaves. Season with lemon vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.
Assembling the Dish
Prepared prawns (from earlier in the recipe)
Virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Prepared tomatoes (from earlier in the recipe)
Prepared salad (from earlier in the recipe)
Warm a large skillet over high heat. Season the prepared prawns with salt and Espelette. Add enough olive oil to the skillet to film the surface of the pan. Place the seasoned prawns in the pan and
allow the pan to recover heat for a minute. Add butter to the pan and sauté the shrimp for an additional minute, tossing the prawns occasionally to ensure even cooking. Remove the prawns to a paper towel-lined tray. Save the fat in the pan.
Spoon tomatoes onto the center of each diner’s plate and top with 2 prawns. Finish the plate with the salad, and drizzle with reserved cooking fat. Serve immediately.
Photography: (featured) Lisa Cohen, (Michael Cimarusti) JennKL Photography. All images courtesy Providence.