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Handling the heat from "Hell's Kitchen"

Posted by Devra First  July 21, 2010 09:39 AM

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Chefs Benjamin Knack of Sel de la Terre and Jason Santos of Gargoyles on the Square, both featured on "Hell's Kitchen," host a live chat on today, July 21, at 2 p.m. "Hell's Kitchen" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox. Join them to ask about cooking, television stardom, and just how mean Gordon Ramsay really is. (Find a transcript of this chat here.)

In advance of their appearance, asked the chefs to share cool recipes for hot weather. Here are their offerings:


Photos/Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

The following recipes are adapted from Sel de la Terre chef Ben Knack (above). He says: "A salad of lobster, corn, and tomatoes is the perfect New England summer meal. The great thing about this salad is that it can be made completely in the backyard on the grill, out of the heat of the kitchen. The lobster can be cooked when you pick it up, or you can split the lobster and throw it on the grill for about 3 minutes on each side. When grilling the lobster, season and lightly coat with a little oil. For a great refreshment, make a watermelon spritzer to accompany your lobster salad."

Lobster and sweet corn salad
Serves 2

2 ears of corn in their husks, soaked in water for 5 minutes

Olive oil, for sprinkling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

1 medium tomato, cored and cut into eighths

2 tablespoons diced red onion

Handful of baby arugula

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for sprinkling

1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Chopped chives and tarragon, to taste

1. Preheat grill to 350 degrees.

2. Open husks of corn carefully and remove silk, leaving the corn attached to the husks. Discard the silk. Rub corn with oil, then season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Rewrap the husks around the corn and grill over a medium flame for 10-15 minutes, rotating corn every 4-5 minutes. Allow corn to cool. Remove husks and cut kernels off corn.

3. In a medium bowl, place tomatoes, corn, red onions, and arugula. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently. Taste and add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, or pepper if needed.

4. In a separate bowl, sprinkle lobster with lemon juice and olive oil to taste, zest, chives, and tarragon. Toss. Divide tomato and corn salad between two plates and top with lobster.

Watermelon spritzer
Serves 1

4 leaves of mint

Ice cubes

1 cup watermelon juice

1 cup soda water

Juice of 1/2 lime

1. Crush mint and place in glass filled with ice.

2. Top with watermelon juice, soda water, and lime juice.


Gargoyles chef Jason Santos (above) recommends serving soft-shell crabs with Greek flavors. This is adapted from his recipe:

Crispy soft-shell crab with tomatoes, feta, olives, and Greek vinaigrette
Serves 4


8 cherry tomatoes

4 heirloom tomatoes

8 olives, pitted and minced

2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1/4 red onion, julienned

1/4 cup sliced English cucumbers

1/2 cup diced goat's milk feta

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup canola oil

1. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, parsley, onion, cucumbers, and feta. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss gently.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, water, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

3. Whisk in the olive and canola oils a little at a time until the dressing emulsifies.


4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 cup canola oil

1. Put the soft-shell crabs in a large bowl, then pour buttermilk over them. Set aside.

2. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour and Old Bay.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is sizzling. One at a time, using tongs, lift the crabs from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the crabs in the flour mixture on both sides. Lift from the flour and ease into the hot fat. Fry the crabs for about 3 to 4 minutes on a side or until they are crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. Divide salad and crabs between four plates and serve immediately.

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

The Recipe Box Project:

If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at To discuss your recipes, click here.