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Video: Gourmet in Vegas

TODAY
updated 5/4/2005 3:26:47 PM ET 2005-05-04T19:26:47

Looking for some good food action while partying on the Las Vegas strip? Alex Stratta, chef of the Las Vegas restaurant “Alex,” was invited on the “Today” show to share this dish that'll make anyone feel like a high-roller. Here's the recipe:

Daurade Royal Provencal With Chickpea Fritters and Lobster Bell Pepper Jus
Serves 4

For the red pepper lobster sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic
2 Maui onions, diced
10 red bell peppers, diced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 cups dry white vermouth
1 gallon rich lobster stock (see recipe below)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a heavy saucepot over a medium flame and add the olive oil. Heat until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the sliced garlic and brown lightly. Add the diced onions and peppers and sweat until lightly colored, add the thyme and deglaze with vermouth. Simmer and reduce to dry. Add the lobster stock and simmer over medium heat until liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Blend in a high-speed blender, and add 1 cup olive oil and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning and strain through a fine china cap. Reserve at room temperature.

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For the ratatouille
1 cup red bell peppers
1 cup yellow bell peppers
1 cup Maui onion
1 cup zucchini
1 cup eggplant
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh tomato sauce
2 tablespoons capers (in salt)
2 tablespoons taggiasca olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
Bouquet of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons white raisins (soaked in red wine vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice all of the vegetables to 1/8-inch size. Heat Teflon sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Cook all of the vegetables in smoking hot oil, one at a time until lightly caramelized. Drain into a colander and chill. Once chilled, mix all of the vegetables together with the tomato sauce, capers, olive slices and the basil. Check seasoning, and reserve chilled until needed.

For the basil sauce
4 cups basil leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend the basil at high speed with the oil, and strain through a colander with cheese cloth.

For the chickpea fritters
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 pound butter
1 tablespoon toasted anise seed
12 ounces chickpea flour
Semolina to dust
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the milk and butter to a boil over medium heat. Add the toasted seeds and season. Simmer for 15 minutes. While the milk is at a low boil, stir in the sifted chickpea flour in a slow and even stream. Whisk vigorously until smooth and homogenous. While still hot, pour out on a buttered cookie tray and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours and turn out on a clean cutting surface. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 1/2-inch x 1-inch rectangles, and toss in the semolina flour until well coated.

Preheat the peanut oil to 375’F and lightly fry the fritters until golden brown and crispy.

For the garlic chips
2 heads of garlic (peeled into cloves)
1 quart whole milk
2 quarts olive oil (for frying)
12 basil leaves
Salt to taste

Slice the garlic cloves very thin on a mandoline and place in cold milk in a pot. Bring to a boil and strain. Repeat process three times and drain well on paper towels. Spread the sliced garlic out to dry evenly. Heat a pot with the olive oil to 200°F and add the garlic chips. Slowly bring up the temperature and crisp to blond, not brown. Drain well and season with salt. Fry the basil leaves in the hot garlic oil and season, drain.

For the fish
4 filets of daurade, skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 branch of thyme
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste

Season the meat side of the fish (do not season the skin). Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Sear the fish, skin side down, and add the butter. Flip fish over and roast in a 450ºF convection oven, basting frequently while it roasts. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on a warming rack.

Presenting the dish
Sauté the ratatouille vegetables quickly in olive oil and cover the skin side of the fish with a thin, even layer of the vegetable mix. Sauce a plate with the warm lobster sauce and place the fish on top. Garnish the top of the fish with the fried basil and garlic chips. Serve the fried chickpea fritters and the basil dipping sauce on the side. 

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