The new season of "Top Chef" is finally here! This season features all new "cheftestants" competing for the title of Top Chef in beautiful Portland, Oregon. To celebrate the new season, judges Padma Lakshmi (who just came out with a new cookbook, "Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet"), Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons are joining TODAY to share a few of their favorite Portland-inspired recipes. Lakshmi makes mushroom and cheese flautas; Colicchio prepares citrusy seared trout with arugula; and Simmons cooks clams in beer and serves them with a lemon-and-herb butter.
"This is an easy recipe everyone loves," said Lakshmi. "It's a yummy crowd-pleaser that's great to make in big quantities for a party. Flautas are best served hot out of the pan and with plenty of the dipping sauce. The fresh tortillas will keep in the fridge, as will the cheeses, so this is also something you can make spontaneously."
"As an avid fisherman, I always enjoy cooking what I catch," said Colicchio. "Steelhead trout are abundant in the colder waters along the West Coast. The flavor is somewhat similar to that of salmon but slightly milder and less oily. It doesn't take much to bring out the best in this fish. A simple citrus marinade and pan-sear is perfect."
"One of the greatest privileges of shooting in Portland was spending time on Oregon's majestic coast, which harvests some of the best and most sustainable seafood in the world," said Simmons. "We feasted on local crabs, fish and clams and even took our cheftestants clamming and crabbing. Portland also happens to have a thriving microbrew culture so the beer selection on our time off from work was outstanding. Beer is the perfect vehicle for steaming clams and they naturally pair so well together. It's easy and bright, incredibly flavorful and reminds me of our wild 'Top Chef' adventures by the sea."
If you like those "Top Chef" recipes, you should also try these: