By Alissa Fitzgerald, BlackBook
Summer has almost sprung in the east but, of course, it’s perpetually sunny and bright on the California Coast. And soaking up as much of that sun as possible is FIG, in the plush Fairmont Miramar hotel in Santa Monica. Known by those in the know for their locally sourced farm-to-table fare and seasonally rotating menus, their approach to food is as personal as it gets.
Helmed by Exec Chef Jason Prendergast, he was trained in the classic French tradition, but his presentation is pure SoCal. According to the chef himself, what makes FIG so special is the years he has personally spent “cultivating relationships with local farmers, ranchers and fishermen.”
And it’s true. Much like the the infamous Portlandia episode, where Fred and Carrie are escorted to a local farm, chef Prendergast can, “tell you where livestock was raised and what their diet consisted of, name the fisherman, and tell you where his catch was.”
There are even specialty foragers who comb the forest and coastline for those especially hard to track down items like seasonal morels or edible flowers. And fromager extraordinaire Eric Brazel is so knowledgable as to be known as “The Cheese Guru”; he leads tastings at FIG, when he’s not stocking the menu.
We especially recommend popping out for a breezy, seasonal summer brunch. Until then, chef Prendergast has been kind enough to share these special recipes with BlackBook, so that you might try them at home.
Organic Eggs on Toast
4 Slices of Best Quality Rustic Country Loaf Bread8 Organic Farmers’ Market Eggs4 Ounces Normandie Butter or Best Available2 Ounces Crème Fraiche1 Ounce Finely Chopped ChivesCoarse Sea SaltBlack Pepper
1. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk well.
2. In a medium deep sided pot over low to medium heat, add butter and allow to foam.
3. While butter is foaming, toast country bread to a deep golden brown, still leaving a chewy crumb in the center.
4. Add eggs to the pot and continue whisking the entire time until eggs begin to cook and start forming scrambled eggs, about 6-8 minutes. Once the eggs begin to scramble, add in crème fraiche and place back over heat. Continue cooking until soft scrambled egg stage is reached.
5. Remove from heat, season with sea salt and black pepper.
6. Place country bread on individual plates, top with soft scrambled egg mixture and finish with a generous pinch of chives. Enjoy immediately
12 Jumbo Dry Packed Diver Scallops
½ Pound Best Quality Salted
Butter 1 Pound Morel Mushrooms
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
4 Ounces Canola oil
2 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
5 Pound s Whole Fava Beans
5 Ounces Wild Ramps, washed, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 Quarts Chicken Stock Reduced by half
5 Ounces Finely Chopped Chives
Sea Salt as needed
Method: Fava Bean Preparation
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add enough salt to create a flavor of the ocean 2. Remove fava beans from first rough outer pod and place into a bowl. Once water comes up to a boil, add fava beans and blanch for 30 seconds. 3. Remove fava beans from boiling water and place into a bowl of ice water, shock for 3 t o 4 minutes. 4. Once beans are cool, drain and carefully remove from second shell using the tiny “tab” at the top of the bean. Store fava beans in a container until ready to assemble final dish.
Method: Morel Mushroom
1. Split morels directly in half and wash morels in cold water. Once washed, place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. 2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat add 1 ounce of canola oil and ¾ of the salted butter. Swirl the butter in the pan until foaming, add garlic and thyme, swirl until fragrant. 3. Add morel mushrooms and allow to braise for 12 to 15 minutes until very tender. If morels seem to be cooking too quickly, lower the heat . Once morels have been glazed with butter, remove from the heat and place in a container until ready to assemble final dish.
Method: Scallops & Finishing the Dish
1. Place a cast iron pan or heavy bottomed pan over high heat, add remaining oil and get hot enough to see ripples of the oil in the pan. 2. While pan is heating, season scallops with a small amount of sea salt and add to t he pan. Allow the scallops to get a nice crust on the first side, approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes. 3. Once scallops have formed a nice crust flip over and cook other side for 30 seconds. Remove scallops from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
4. R emove all but a tablespoon of the oil from the pan, return to heat, add the ramps and sauté just until ramps are wilted. 5. Add reduced chicken stock, bring to a simmer and add the morels until just warmed. Once morels are warmed add remaining butter along with fava beans, swirl to combine. 6. Remove pan from heat and add in chopped chives. 7. Divide ragout amongst four warmed bowls, top with 3 scallops and a pinch of sea salt on each scallop