Throughout Western New York, residents are living through what could arguably be called the region’s golden age of culinary creation.
In every corner of the county you’ll find some ballyhooed restaurant manned by a talented chef whose concoctions are gaining acclaim in the neighborhood and beyond. Going out to eat is no longer a meal or a date. It’s an adventure, one with dining possibilities beyond our traditional holy trinity of wings, weck and beer-battered fish.
But we can’t get out every night — or even every week. Thankfully, some of our burgeoning culinary community’s finest chefs understand this. Just because you can’t make it to some of the area’s most ambitious locales doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a taste of the action.
With the below easy-to-follow recipes and instructions from three of these chefs — Alexander Diaczenko of Lucia’s on the Lake, Jesse Ross of The Dapper Goose and Brad Rowell of The Grange Community Kitchen — you can put together a taste of this gastronomic renaissance in your own kitchen.
Bon appétit, Buffalo.
Shrimp and Lobster Risotto
Compliments of chef Alexander Diaczenko, Lucia’s on the Lake
4151 Lakeshore Rd., Hamburg
• 1 whole lobster, cooked and chopped
• 12 Gulf shrimp, peeled, deveined and marinated in oil with garlic and fresh herbs
• ¼ cup butter
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 2 cups Arborio rice
• 2 tbps. fresh herbs, chopped
• ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
• 6 cups lobster stock
• 1 tbsp. Mascarpone cheese
• ½ cup Chablis wine
• Zest of 1 lemon
• ½ cup peas, fresh or frozen peas
• Pinch of Saffron threads
• Salt and black pepper
1. Heat lobster stock in a large pot, and keep warm.
2. In a large, wide saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
3. Add a large pinch of salt, then add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
4. Add white wine, and stir until fully absorbed.
5. Add 1 cup of broth and simmer, stirring until the broth is almost absorbed. Add more broth, a cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Stir often.
6. Add saffron threads. Cook until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy, 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Stir in lemon zest, Parmesan, mascarpone, lobster meat, and butter.
8. Sautee shrimp with a splash of oil and pat of butter.
9. Plate risotto in desired bowl or plate, top with shrimp and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Grilled Broccoli Salad with Romesco sauce
Compliments of chef Jesse Ross, The Dapper Goose
491 Amherst St., Buffalo
• 4 cups broccoli crowns, trimmed (4 larger stalks before being trimmed)
• 1 lb. seedless grapes
(8 grapes per salad)
• ½ cup almonds, chopped and roasted for salad (another ¼ cup for Romesco sauce)
• 4 red bell peppers, deseeded
• 6-8 cloves garlic
• 2 large splashes sherry vinegar
• 1 head radicchio, for salad greens
• 1 large head frisee (or 2-3 smaller ones), for salad greens
• 1 red onion, sliced thin (for salad)
• 1 cup olive oil for broccoli, ¼ cup for Romesco
• 1 tbps. red pepper flakes
• 1 ½ tablespoons salt for Romesco; add to taste for the salad; pepper to taste
• ½ cup lemon vinaigrette
1. Cut broccoli crowns in ½ or ¼ and toss with olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt; let sit for at least a half hour to marinate.
2. Grill broccoli until tender, but don’t overcook. A good char will be fine.
3. Smoke the grapes while the grill is still warm. Use some sort of wood (preferably pecan). Cook until smoky, but not overcooked; you want the grapes to remain firm.
4. For the Romesco sauce, toss roasted red bell peppers, raw almonds and raw garlic cloves with veg oil, salt and pepper. Roast peppers, almonds and garlic in oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until peppers are tender (not blistered), then puree in blender with sherry vinegar and salt.
5. Mix together salad green concoction of raddiccio, frisée and red onions.
6. Prepare lemon vinaigrette dressing, which should be equal parts oil and lemon juice plus dry oregano and honey. Add salt to taste.
7. To serve, put Romesco sauce on plate; top with greens, smoked grapes, roasted almonds and warmed broccoli; dress with vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt to taste.
Local Tomato Tartine, with fresh mozzarella and herbs
Compliments of chef Brad Rowell, The Grange Community Kitchen
22 Main St., Hamburg
• 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced
• ½ lb. fresh mozzarella
• 4 slices sourdough bread
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
• 4 tbps. olive oil
• Sea salt to taste
• Mix of herbs, torn into bite sized pieces
1. Light a grill 1 hour before starting recipe.
2. Sourdough bread should be sliced as 1-inch pieces.
3. Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. Toss tomatoes with sherry vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.
5. Slice mozzarella into ¼-inch pieces.
6. Grill bread on both sides until lightly charred and golden brown.
7. Rub grilled bread with garlic clove on both sides.
8. Lay mozzarella slices on top of bread followed by tomatoes.
9. Garnish with mixed herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Story topics: Food + Drink