White Sox Chef's Halibut with Provencal Relish and Arugula Polenta

April 8, 2008 11:10:29 AM PDT
There's more than one A.J. who's a big asset to the Chicago White Sox. Catcher A.J.Pierzynski gets the headlines, but A.J. Rudis has a big role behind the scenes. He's one of several local chefs, who work at the ball park, making sure the players get more to eat than hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack. Chef A.J., a Southsider and life-long White Sox fan, is back at work at the clubhouse, preparing meals for the team now that baseball season has started again.

Chef A.J. trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Minnesota and worked at Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights. A personal chef, with his own catering business Chef AJ's Catering, he has been working with the Sox for six years. Here are some of the dishes that he serves up to the coaches and players: BBQ pork loin on bed of Sweet Potato Polenta; Beef Tenderloin Oscar style; Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella, and Spinach; and Halibut with a Provencal relish on a bed of Creamy Polenta with Arugula.

Chef A.J. also likes to use his 17-foot BBQ smoker and does back yard BBQs on site. For more information, call (708) 278.7000.

Halibut with Provencal Relish and Arugula Polenta

Provencal Relish

(Serves 4)

1 orange pepper
1 red pepper
Half tablespoon garlic minced
2 shallots
1 cup olive oil
3 oz pitted calamata olives
Half red onion, small, dice
1 oz small capers
1 tomato skinned seeded and diced
4 whole anchovies minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 cut the peppers in half and clean the seeds out. Place in shallow pan skin side up and add the shallots to pan and brush all ingredients with oil and bake until shallots soft and skin begins to separate. Take pan out of oven and cool, then pull of skin of peppers and small dice these ingredients. When cool combine all ingredients above into bowl mix and let sit before use at least an hour, this can be made ahead of time.

Seared Halibut

1 lb Halibut cut into 4 oz fillets
To taste Salt and Pepper
Half cup of all purpose flour

Take four fillets and dredge in flour and shake all excess flour off. Have your pan preheated and then add oil let heat up and add your fillets. Cook for about three minutes and turn over. Finish cooking another three minutes until internal temperature is 135 degrees. Place on a bed of polenta and spoon over the Provencal relish over the top.

Creamy Polenta with Arugula

2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup chopped Arugula
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt
white pepper

In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the water and milk to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Add the Arugula and let wilt. Stir in enough of the cream for a smooth and creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you have a creamy texture not gritty. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Chicken Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper Mozzarella, Spinach with Supreme Sauce

Supreme Sauce

Chicken Veloute ½ Quart
Heavy Cream, heated
Mushroom infusion
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the veloute and the cream and add mushroom essence. Simmer until the mixture coats the back of spoon.

4-six ounce bonless, skinless chicken breasts
1 roasted red pepper
1 large fresh mozzarella ball
2 cups wilted spinach
Salt pepper to taste

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place each chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap working from center to the edges, pound lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet to 1/8 inch thickness. Take a piece of roasted red pepper and lay on the breast then the wilted spinach ring out excess water first then tear some mozzarella and place on top of spinach. Roll the chicken breast up inclosing the ingredients inside and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for hour to help seal and hold shape. Place chicken on sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees until center is 165 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes.

Assembly: Place chicken on plate spoon sauce over and around breast and garnish with your favorite sauté mushrooms

Beef Tenderloin Oscar style

Béarnaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ pound unsalted butter, melted
1tbs Tarragon minced
Lemon juice as needed
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. If it gets to thick ad very little lemon juice to thin out. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne Tarragon and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use if the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of lemon juice before serving.

Asparagus

1 bundle of asparagus
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbs Canola oil
8oz of lump crab meat

Break the stem off the asparagus and toss with oil and salt and pepper. Place on grill and close lid and cook about five minutes until tender.

Beef Tenderloin

40 oz tenderloin of beef cut into 10 oz portions 4 large steaks.
Salt and Pepper

Heat the grill. Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you are going to grill it. Season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill the tenderloin, turning once. Until the meat is rare or medium rare around 125 degrees internal temperature. If the outside is done and inside is not, move off the coals to cool side of grill and close lid and cook indirectly. Remove to a warm platter and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Assembly: place the asparagus on plate and place the fillet over the asparagus and spoon crab over the top of fillet and spoon béarnaise sauce over the top.

B.B.Q. Pork Chop with Creamy Sweet Potato Polenta

Sweet Potato Polenta

2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup baked sweet potato
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt
white pepper

Bake sweet potato in oven at 350 degrees until soft and take skin off and mash with cream and salt and pepper until smooth.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the water and milk to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Add the sweet potato. Stir in enough of the cream for a smooth and creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you have a creamy texture not gritty. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

48 oz whole Pork loin cut into 4 chops

Chef AJ's BBQ rub
Canola Oil

Get grill very hot and place all coals on one side. Rub the pork generously with Chef AJ's Catering BBQ rub or another rub from the store. Take a paper towel and soak in oil and take the tongs and rub the paper towel over the grill quickly over the grates of the grill. Place the Pork over the coals and brown both sides and move over to cool side of the grill and close the lid. Cook the pork until the internal temperature is 155 degrees and set aside for five minutes.

Assembly: Spoon Polenta onto the pate and place the Pork Loin over the top and serve. You also may serve BBQ sauce on side.

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