LAST July (2015), I blogged about the visit of Chef Jeff Claudio to the Philippines. The head chef of Burnt Ends in Singapore, he has worked for some of the top restaurants in the country, including Noma, a two Michelin Star restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, of celebrated chef Rene Redzepi, chosen as the World’s Best Restaurant by the annual S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant Awards from 2010 to 2012 and 2014; celebrity chef Thomas Keller’s new American and French restaurant Per Se, recipient of New York Times’ Best Restaurant in New York City award; Yours Truly, a casual dining restaurant in Toronto, Canada; Viajante in London; and Rockpool in Sydney, Australia.
The cousin of our very own celebrity chef Jessie Sincioco, who is one of my personal favorites, Chef Jeff Claudio was at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club for a limited engagement, serving a full-course menu that never failed to wow diners. His cuisine is simple and fuss-free, so he had the tablecloths removed from the dining tables and replaced it with brown paper; and his plates, which were for sharing, looked appetizingly good but are not overly fussed over.
One of the dishes that really stood out for me was Chef Jeff’s Endive & Banana Heart Salad with Pomelo and Walnut. It combines leaves of endives with thin strips of banana heart, pomelo pulp and roughly chopped walnuts. It looks like a variant of a regular garden salad, but it has a unique dressing of brown butter cooked with orange juice and sherry vinegar. It tastes like burnt caramel or toffee, not too sweet, not overpowering at all. It’s just right.
I asked Chef Jeff for the recipe of his Endive & Banana Heart Salad with Pomelo & Walnut, and he gladly shared it.
1 head endive
60 grams banana blossoms, julienned
30 grams pomelo pulp
30 grams walnuts, roasted and chopped
30 grams brown butter
30 grams wild honey
30 grams orange juice
10 grams sherry vinegar
100 grams Pecorino cheese, finely grated
sea salt to taste
1. For the salad, cut endives into spheres and remove the core. Arrange the leaves on a salad plate.
2. Add the julienned banana blossoms.
3. Top with chopped walnuts and pomelo pulp.
4. Prepare the dressing. Heat butter until it turns light brown or caramel in color. Add honey, orange juice and sherry vinegar. Cook over medium heat for 3 more minutes. Remove from fire and let cool.
5. To assemble, spoon brown butter sauce evenly over the salad. Top with grated Pecorino cheese and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.