NORMAN'S | Coral Gables, FL
Norman Van Aken says being a chef isn’t a profession
you choose; it chooses you. Rising Star Jeffrey Brana was
not only chosen by the culinary profession, but also by Florida’s
reigning celebrity chef. Brana mastered every station in the
kitchen at Norman’s, South Florida’s premiere
fine dining venue in Coral Gables. He then ventured off to
St. Thomas and San Francisco, eventually finding his way back
to Van Aken’s award-winning kitchen, where he executes
nightly the New World Cuisine made famous by his mentor.
Foie Gras Croqueta with Creamed Sweet Corn, Dandelion Greens
Chef Jeffrey Brana of NORMAN’S – Coral
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 lobe Grade A foie gras
- Milk, for soaking
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 375 milliliters (about 1 ½ cups) orange Muscat
- 6 cups duck stock
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs, ground
- All-purpose flour and egg wash, for breading
- 1 gallon canola oil
Creamed corn and dandelions:
- 4 ears of corn, shucked
- 2 ounces butter
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (if necessary)
- 4 bunches tiny dandelion greens (no larger than 5 inches),
- 4 ounces fresh huckleberries
- 1 Tablespoon Maldon salt
For foie gras:
Soak foie gras in milk overnight, changing the milk several
times. The following day, remove lobe from milk, rinse and pat
dry. Allow the foie gras to temper at room temperature until
soft. With a knife, “butterfly” open the foie, and
remove all of the veins.
Mix together the salt and sugar, and season the foie. Drizzle
with 100 milliliters of the Muscat (about ½ cup), reserving
the remaining wine for poaching. Cover and allow to cure overnight.
The following day, use parchment paper to form the foie gras
into a long cylinder approximately 2 ½ inches thick.
Lay out a large square of cheesecloth, double it onto itself
and roll the foie gras, twisting both ends of the cloth, and
securing each end with kitchen twine.
Heat the remaining wine with the duck stock in a pot large
enough to hold the foie gras. Bring to a simmer, and poach
the foie gras for 2 minutes. Remove, and place in an ice water
bath. When cool, wrap in a towel or linen, and twist the ends
in order to return the foie to its original width.
Tie off the ends of the towel and hang the cooked foie gras
from one end in a cooler until firm. When firm, remove foie
from the towel and cheesecloth, and slice with a hot knife
into 1-inch discs. Place in the freezer briefly to ensure
that the foie is as firm as possible after slicing, but do
not let it freeze.
Bread the pieces of foie in the flour, egg wash and ground
panko. Repeat this process again for each piece, thus giving
the foie a bit more protection from the heat when cooked.
Return to a cooler, and keep as cold as possible.
Heat canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until it reads 375°F
on a thermometer. Just before service, flash-fry the foie
gras croquetas for 8 seconds. This will allow the breading
to turn a golden brown, with a molten layer just inside and
a cool center.
For creamed corn:
Cut the kernels from two ears of corn, scraping the “milk”
with the back of a knife. With a box grater, grate the remaining
ears of corn, being careful not to pass into the cob. Over
low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the kernels
and grated corn. Cook over low heat for approximately 45 minutes,
or until no starch can be tasted in the corn. If the corn
is not as sweet as desired, add sugar to taste. The corn can
be chilled and reheated later for service, or it can be held
warm for a brief period. When ready to plate, fold in the
dandelion greens until they are slightly wilted. Season with
salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the corn and dandelion greens in the center of each
plate. Place one croqueta on top of the corn. Top each plate
with 1 Tablespoon of huckleberries and a few grains of Maldon
salt. Serve immediately.
JJ: What are your favorite
JB: Pellegrino Artusi-
The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well (La scienza
in Cucina el' arte di Mangiar bene). It was published in 1891
and covers a broad scope of Italian cuisine. Artusi’s
wit, his anecdotes on history and his two cents make it an
JJ: What cities do you
like for culinary travel?
JB: I like the San Francisco
Bay area. Overseas is great too, but the west coast is unbelievable.
There is a great attitude, concentrating on the basics of
food and wine, including a wonderful diversity.
JJ: What are your favorite
restaurants in Miami?
JB: Grazianos, an Argentinean
JJ: Where do you see
yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
JB: I see myself owning
my own restaurant in the country. I want the ability to be
at peace and let the restaurant speak for itself.