Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is not only charming on screen, but he's also got some serious chops in the kitchen. His latest venture Gwen, a butcher shop-fine dining restaurant hybrid in Hollywood, comes on the heels of Maude, which opened to rave reviews in 2014. He's also the author of half a dozen cookbooks and has cooked with Martha several times over the years. He joined Martha again in the kitchen today to toast the end of summer with a passionfruit fizz and two simple, sophisticated dishes -- shaved fennel salad and fried calamari.
The double-shake method in this recipe is key to the cocktail’s texture. The first shaking is to break up the egg white; the second is to chill and froth the drink.
1/2 cup fresh strained passion fruit juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces (175 ml) good-quality vodka
4 ounces (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 ounces (60 ml) Aperol
4 large egg whites, separated individually
24 ice cubes, divided
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine passion fruit juice and sugar. Bring mixture to a simmer, whisking to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat. Transfer syrup to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 1/2 ounces vodka, 1 1/2 ounces passion fruit syrup, 1 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce Aperol, and 1 egg white. Place top on shaker and shake vigorously (without ice) for about 30 seconds, or until mixture is starting to get frothy. Add 6 ice cubes and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, or until outside of shaker is frosty and mixture is frothy.
3. Strain cocktail through a fine-mesh sieve into a chilled martini glass and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Shaved Fennel Salad with Pickled Onions and Charred Sea Beans
You can omit the sea beans, which are also called samphire, if you can't find them. The salad will be just as delicious.
Prep: 10 mins
Total Time: 11 mins
3 fennel bulbs, stalks and fronds intact
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 sea beans
Pickled Red Onions (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 celery hearts, thinly shaved on a mandolin
1. Pick fennel fronds from fennel bulbs and reserve. Using a mandolin, cut 2 fennel stalks into paper-thin slices. Reserve shaved fennel stalks.
2. Using mandolin, shave fennel bulbs into paper-thin slices. Reserve shaved fennel bulbs.
3. In a medium heavy frying pan over medium-high, heat olive oil. Add sea beans and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until sea beans are charred on one side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
4. In a large bowl, toss shaved fennel bulbs, pickled red onions with about 3 tablespoons of their pickling liquid, parsley, chervil, and chives. Season with salt.
5. Mound salad on a serving dish, sprinkle with fennel pollen, and drizzle with olive oil. Top with fennel fronds, fennel stalks, charred sea beans, and shaved celery hearts.
Pickled Red Onions
These can be made up to 5 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
Prep: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tarragon sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, add onion slices and cook for about 30 seconds, or until onions are just tender. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, tarragon, and thyme to a boil over high. Remove from heat and add onion slices. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Martha and Jude's Fried Calamari
Prep/Total Time: 30 mins
This is the recipe Martha taught her granddaughter Jude to make this summer.
1 cup mayonnaise
Freshly grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
3 pounds cleaned squid, tubes cut into rings
Olive or sunflower oil
Powdered salt (make your own by grinding kosher salt in a food processor or mortar and pestle)
4 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest, and chives. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, season cornstarch with sea salt; set aside.
3. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a medium heavy-bottomed pot.
4. Pat the squid dry and toss in the seasoned cornstarch mixture to coat. Transfer squid to a strainer and shake to remove any excess cornstarch. Fry in batches, without crowding, until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain the squid on paper towels or a rack. (Frying a batch of squid will bring the temperature of the oil down. Be sure to reheat the oil in between batches and check the temperature again with a deep-fry thermometer before adding more squid.) Sprinkle with powdered salt.
5. Toss the zucchini slices in the seasoned cornstarch mixture to coat. Shake the zucchini in a strainer to remove any excess cornstarch. Fry in batches, without crowding, until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain the zucchini on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle with powdered salt.
6. Serve squid and zucchini immediately with lemon mayonnaise and lemon wedges.