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A Labor Day Feast For Six

Chef Waldy Malouf returns to The Saturday Early Show as the Chef on a Shoestring, this time preparing a Labor Day party feast for six, on a budget of $60. The menu is all finger food, with no plates or silverware required!

Malouf is the chef and co-owner of Beacon Restaurant in New York, as well as Waldy's Wood-Fired Pizza and Penne. He is well-known in the food world for his work at some of New York's finest restaurants, including the Four Seasons and the Rainbow Room. His first cookbook, "The Hudson River Valley Cookbook," was nominated for an IACP/Julia Child cookbook Award.

His latest cookbook came out in summer 2003. The book is titled, "High Heat." He wanted to share with home cooks that they it's easy to achieve great flavor when using open-flame grilling and hot oven cooking.

His menu:

Grilled Flank Steak & Roasted Garlic Skewers
Grilled Chicken Roulade Skewers with Provolone & Tomato
Seared Polenta Squares with Spicy Broccoli Rabe
Chilled Apple & Potato Soup
Prosciutto & Fig Bruschetta
Smoked Salmon & Fennel Bruschetta
Peach & Almond Crostata

RECIPES

GRILLED CHICKEN ROULADE WITH PROVOLONE AND TOMATO
Makes 12 skewers

Ingredients
12 2-ounce pieces thinly sliced chicken breast (pounded out to quarter-inch thick)
1 cup shredded fresh basil
12 slices good-quality provolone (cut in half into half-moons, yield 24 pieces)
12 8-inch-long wooden skewers (soaked in water)
6 lemon halves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Prepare the chicken rolls. On parchment paper, lay out the chicken breast pieces and pound them out to a quarter of an inch thick. Season them with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Spread each piece of chicken with half teaspoon of the tomato paste. Sprinkle each with one tablespoon of the shredded basil. Place two pieces of the provolone over the basil. Roll each piece of chicken into a tight roulade. With two wooden skewers (parallel to each other), skewer one of the roulades through both skewers. To secure the chicken in place, be sure to get the skewers through the end flap of the roulade. Repeat this procedure with the other 11 roulades.
  2. Pre-heat a grill to medium high.
  3. Brush the skewers with a little olive oil and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Allow to rest in a warm place, off the fire, for 3 to 4 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with any remaining basil. Drizzle each skewer with one tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with the lemon. Enjoy.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK AND ROASTED GARLIC SKEWERS
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
6 bamboo skewers soaked in water overnight
1 head garlic, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
6 ounces flank steak (cut into 6 thin 1-ounce slices)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the halved garlic head and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain well. Place the garlic in a small ovenproof dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and roast for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven to 325 degrees and continue to roast until the garlic is completely tender, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Let the garlic cool slightly, then squeeze the cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the garlic into a rough puree. Season with the salt and plenty of pepper.
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Set aside half of the garlic paste and rub the rest all over the meat slices. Thread the meat slices onto the skewer in a ribbon-like fashion.
  4. Light the grill.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining garlic puree with the mustard to make a dipping sauce.
  6. Grill the skewers for two minutes on each side.
  7. Serve with the garlic mustard. Enjoy!
SEARED POLENTA SQUARES WITH SPICY BROCCOLI RABE
Makes 12 squares

Ingredients
1 quart chicken stock or water
1 cup instant polenta (see note, below)
1½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter (or use extra-virgin olive oil)
2 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

Note: You can buy instant polenta in many large supermarkets and gourmet shops. If you can't find it, you can substitute fine yellow cornmeal.

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Continue cooking, whisking all the while, until the polenta is quite thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and season with the salt and pepper (add extra salt to taste if using water to cook the polenta). Pour into a 9-by-12 inch baking pan that has been lined with plastic wrap, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, and allow to cool — about 30 minutes. At this point, the polenta can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with water and ice. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain and cool in the ice water. Drain well and chop coarsely.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper flakes and toss to coat with the oil. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer, covered, for 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer if the broccoli rabe is too soupy. Season with salt.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Unwrap the polenta and turn out onto a board. Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares and brush them with the melted butter.
  5. Lay the polenta on a baking sheet and broil, 5 inches from the heat source, turning once, until the polenta is golden and slightly crisp on the outside, and thoroughly warmed, about 10 minutes.
  6. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan with the mozzarella. Lay the polenta in a large pan and top each one with a 1 Tbs. of the broccoli rabe mixture. Sprinkle the cheese over each one and return to the broiler until the cheese is melted and light brown.
PROSCIUTTO AND FIG BRUSCHETTA
Serves 6 as an hors d'oeuvre

Ingredients
6 slices baguette, 1/2-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 pint fresh figs, cut into 8 small wedges
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Thyme sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet and place it as close to the heat source as possible. Broil the bread until golden brown on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the slices over and broil for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until browned.
  3. Lay the prosciutto on the bread slices, cutting it if necessary to fit. Toss the figs with balsamic vinegar and place on top of prosciutto. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and garnish with thyme if desired and serve at once (so the toast doesn't turn soggy).
SMOKED SALMON AND FENNEL BRUSCHETTA
Serves 6 as an hors d'oeuvre

Ingredients
6 slices baguette, 1/2-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into julienne strips
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel
1½ tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet and place it as close to the heat source as possible. Broil the bread until golden brown on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the slices over and broil for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until browned.
  3. Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl, mound toppings onto the bread and serve at once (so the toast doesn't turn soggy).
CHILLED APPLE AND POTATO SOUP
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients
1 tablespoons butter
1 small leeks including about 1 inch of the green tops, carefully cleaned and sliced
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/2 pound baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 cups peeled, cored and rough chopped apples (Macoun or Granny Smith)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (you may use yogurt or sour cream instead)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Garnish
1 red-skinned apple
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Method

  1. In a soup pot, melt the butter, add the leeks and onion and cook over medium heat, without browning, stirring frequently. When the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes, add the potatoes, apples and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft.
  2. Put the soup through a food mill or puree in a blender. Add the cream and season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper. It will take a lot of salt to bring out the flavor of the soup. This is especially important because the soup will be served cold, and cold foods always require extra seasoning.
  3. Chill the soup overnight. Check the seasoning. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little stock. Immediately before serving, cut a red-skinned apple into julienne strips. Garnish each shot glass of soup with some of the apple and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
  4. Note: You may add 1oz of calvados or white wine for an extra flavor boost.
PEACH AND ALMOND CROSTATA
Serves 6

Ingredients

For the peaches:
3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons sugar

For the frangipane:
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 medium egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
A dash of almond extract
Pinch of fine sea salt or kosher salt

For the crostata:
1 half sheet (about 4 ounces) puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 tablespoon demerrara sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl, toss the peaches in the sugar.
  2. Lay the peaches skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet and place it about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil until the peaches are browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Let the peaches cool slightly, then slice each half into 4 wedges.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the frangipane, in a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds until they are the consistency of sand. Add the other ingredients and pulse until just combined.
  5. If the puff pastry isn't already rolled into a sheet 1/8-inch thick (most commercial brands are), do this on a floured board. Cut the puff pastry in half (approximately 12- by 6-inch piece). Pour the frangipane onto the middle of the puff pastry and spread it thinly over the entire pastry. Arrange two peach wedges 1 inch apart in two rows. You should yield 5 or 6 pairs of peaches in each row. Sprinkle the fruit with the almonds and sugar.
  6. Bake until the pastry is deep golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool a little and then cut the tart into individual squares around the peaches. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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