The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant has unveiled a new spring dinner menu featuring timeless favorites like steaks and chops as well as seasonal dishes. Here in our Studio 41 kitchen with a look at the new menu is Chef Oscar Montesinos.
1401 S. Michigan Ave
Heirloom Tomato, Melon & Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Oil & Lavender Honey Vinaigrette
For the Lavender Honey Vinaigrette (makes 1 cup):
- ½ cup Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Lavender Buds
- 3 whole Cloves
- 3 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Combine Lavender, Cloves and Honey in a small sauce pot and cook on medium heat. Bring honey to a slow simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
-Remove pot from heat and stir in Sherry Vinegar.
-Allow to cool. This can be don ahead of time and stored in a covered container at room temperature for one week.
-Place room temperature Lavender Honey in a bowl and whisk in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
For the Basil Oil (makes 1 cup):
- 2 cups tightly packed fresh Basil Leaves
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
-Place Olive Oil in the refrigerator while you prepare the basil.
-Bring one gallon of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
-Blanch the Basil Leaves in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove them quickly with a strainer and dunk in the ice water, stirring them around to be sure they’re all cold.
-Remove the Basil Leaves from the ice water and gently squeeze them to remove excess water.
-Place the blanched basil in a blender. Add the kosher salt and chilled olive oil. Blend until the basil is pureed.
-Line a strainer or sieve with a coffee filter and pour the basil oil through it. Gently push on the solids with a ladle or spoon to extract the oil. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.
For the Salad (serves 4-6):
- 2 pounds Heirloom Tomatoes (whatever varieties you like, the more different colors, the better)
- 1 pound multicolored Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ Cup thinly sliced Red Onion
- 2 cups Persian Cucumbers, cut into ¼ inch thick half moons
- 2 cups Watermelon and/or Cantaloupe, cut into large dice or cubes (whatever melon is in season or any combination of several that you like)
- Fresh Basil Leaves, torn roughly into ½ inch pieces
- Maldon Sea Salt
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 cup Honey Lavender Vinaigrette (see recipe above)
- 3 Tablespoons Basil Oil (see recipe above)
- Two 4 ounce Balls of Burrata Cheese, removed from brine liquid
- 1 whole lemon
-Slice the Heirloom Tomatoes into slices and wedges. Season with Maldon Sea Salt and Black Pepper and arrange on a large serving platter.
-In a mixing bowl combine cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, Persian cucumbers, cubed melon, torn basil leaves and lavender honey vinaigrette. Season with sea salt and black pepper and toss to combine.
-Spoon mixture over the top of the Heirloon Tomato slices and wedges on the platter.
-Cut the two balls of Burrata into 4 pieces each and arrange on the top of the salad. Sprinkle each piece with sea salt and pepper and using a microplane grate lemon zest over the top of each piece of cheese.
-Using a spoon, drizzle the Basil Oil over the top of the salad on the platter. Serve immediately.
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