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Try this tempting menu from Wolfgang Puck

The pioneering celebrity chef shares some of his eclectic California cuisine.
/ Source: TODAY

Austrian-born chef Wolfgang Puck started his culinary empire in the early ’80s. He now oversees 63 restaurants, a line of soups, gourmet pizzas and cookware, and has authored six books. Puck was invited on the “Today” show to share some of his dishes. Here are the recipes:

Peppered Filets Mignons with Sherry and Raisins
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns2 tablespoons whole white peppercorns6 filet mignon steaks, about 6 ounces each, trimmed of excess fatKosher salt2 tablespoons mild-flavored oil such as canola or safflower oil1 cup dry sherry1 cup beef stock or good-quality canned beef or chicken broth, or 1/2 cup hoisin sauce1/2 cup seedless golden or brown raisins3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Crack the peppercorns by putting them in a resealable heavy plastic food-storage bag.  Place the bag on a flat surface and, with the bottom of a heavy saucepan or skillet, tap them lightly to crack them into large pieces.  Put the cracked peppercorns on a plate.  One by one, sprinkle both sides of each filet evenly with salt to taste, and then press each side into the peppercorns to coat it.

Over high heat, heat a heavy skillet or sauté pan large enough to hold the steaks comfortably (cook the steaks in batches if your pan is not big enough). Add the oil, and as soon as you see the slightest wisps of smoke, carefully add the steaks. Cook the steaks undisturbed for 4 minutes, then carefully turn them over and cook 4 minutes more for medium-rare.  For well-done steaks, reduce the heat to medium low and cook a few more minutes on both sides. Transfer the steaks to a heated platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm while you make the sauce.

Pour off the excess fat from the skillet and return it to high heat.  Add the sherry, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits, and boil until it reduces to about half its original volume, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the stock and raisins and continue boiling until the liquid reduces by half again, 4 to 5 minutes more (if using hoisin sauce, simply stir it in).  A piece at a time, whisk in the butter to form a thick, glossy sauce.  Adjust the seasoning to taste with a little salt.

Transfer the steaks to individual serving plates.  Stir the juices that have collected on the platter into the sauce.  Spoon the sauce over and around the steaks, and serve.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy" Rutledge Hill Press, 2004.

Pizza with Smoked Salmon and Caviar
Makes 4 pizzas

1 recipe pizza dough  (follows)3 to 4 ounces smoked salmon1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil1/2 medium red onion, cut into julienne strips1/4 bunch fresh dill, minced, plush 4 small sprigs for garnish1/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîcheFreshly ground pepper4 heaping tablespoons domestic golden caviar1 heaping teaspoon black caviar

Before you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside for 30 minutes to 500 degrees F. Cut the salmon into paper-thin slices. Reserve. Roll or stretch the dough into four 8-inch circles.  Place the dough on a lightly floured wooden peel. 

Brush the center of each pizza to within 1 inch of the edge with olive oil and sprinkle it with some of the red onion.  Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake 8 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Mix the dill with the sour cream or crème fraîche and freshly ground pepper to taste. Transfer the pizzas to heated dinner plates and spread them with the sour cream mixture. Divide the salmon, and arrange decoratively over the cream. Place a spoonful of golden caviar in the center of each pizza, then spoon a little of the black caviar into the center of the golden caviar. 

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, 2001.

Dill Cream
1/4 bunch fresh dill, minced, plush 4 small sprigs for garnish1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraicheFreshly ground pepper

Mix the dill with the sour cream or crème fraîche and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Pizza Dough
Makes 4 (8-inch) pizzas

1 package active dry or fresh yeast1 teaspoon honey1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)3 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon kosher salt1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushingToppings of your choice

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt.  Add the oil, your mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.  (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball).

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer.  The dough should be smooth and firm.  Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes.  (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).

Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each.  Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball.  Repeat 4 or 5 times.  Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute.  Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.  At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough.  Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle.  If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough.  Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the topping of your choice over the inner circle.

Using a lightly floured baker's peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes.  Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven.  Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife.  Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000.

Savory Pumpkin Soup
Makes 2 quarts

3-3/4 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash1 acorn squash (about 1-3/4 pounds)6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter1 white onion (about 4 ounces), peeled, trimmed, and finely diced1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground ginger1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock1 cup heavy cream1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Garnish
1 recipe cranberry relish1 recipe cardamom cream1/2 recipe spiced caramelized pecans4 tablespoons pumpkin seed oilPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each squash in half and discard the seeds.

Brush cut sides with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Arrange the squash cut side down on a rack placed in a baking tray and bake until tender, about 1-2/3 hours.

Cool, scoop out the insides of the squash, and puree the flesh in a food processor.  Reserve. (You should have about 4 cups of pureed squash).

In a medium stockpot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.  Over low heat, sweat the onion.  Do not allow it to brown.  Add the pureed squash and cook over very low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.  Do not allow it to bubble up.  Season with the salt, pepper, ginger and cardamom.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, still over low heat, stirring often.  Cook about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the rosemary sprig.  Remove the rosemary and pour the cream into the soup.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and process, in batches, for 2 or 3 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into heated bowls.  Place a tablespoon of cranberry relish in the center, top with a dollop of cardamom cream, then sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Drizzle pumpkin oil over soup.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000.

Cranberry Relish
Makes 1-1/3 cups

2 cups fresh cranberries1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup verjus

In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and the berries are glazed.  Allow to cool.  Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000.

Cardamom Cream
Makes 2 cups

2 cups heavy cream1 tablespoon black cardamom seedsIn a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream and the cardamom to a boil.  Reduce until only 1/4 cup remains.  Allow to cool.  Reserve.

Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Stir in the reserved mixture.  Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000.

Spiced Caramelized Pecans
Makes 2 cups

3 cups peanut oil2 cups pecan halves1 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

In a deep-fryer or a deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F.  (A deep-frying thermometer can be clipped to the side of the pan so that you can tell when the proper temperature has been reached).

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.  Add the pecans and boil for 2 minutes.  Drain in a large strainer, shaking off all excess water.  Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper over the nuts and then coat with the confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, allowing the sugar to melt into the pecans.  Toss the nuts by shaking the strainer, adding a little more sugar each time, until all the sugar is used and all the nuts are coated.  Do not use hands or a spoon to toss.  The nuts should have a glaze of sugar.

Carefully add the nuts to the heated oil, keeping the oil at 350 degrees.  Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a baking tray to cool.

Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000.