RECIPES: Wolfgang Puck's Comfort Food

Wolfgang Puck's culinary empire includes nearly 100 restaurants and six cookbooks.

Below, find three of his favorite recipes.

On page 1, Mini Prime Cheeseburgers With Remoulade and Aged Cheddar. On page 2, Pizza With Smoked Salmon and Caviar and on page 3, Chino Farms Corn Soup.

MINI PRIME CHEESE BURGERS WITH REMOULADE AND AGED CHEDDAR (courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

Makes 12 mini burgers

3/4 pound ground Wagyu Snake River Farms beef
Pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces aged cheddar cheese, sliced
6 slices Brioche bread, punched out with a 2-inch ring cutter
Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows)
Arugula leaves
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 cornichons, sliced

Instructions:

Preheat a grill or grill pan.

Put the ground beef in a bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands to combine. Take a small amount (about 2 tablespoons worth) of the ground beef and roll it in the palm of your hand like you are making meatballs. Flatten the top slightly and put the mini burger patties on a side plate. Drizzle the burgers with oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. Turn the burgers over and season the other side.

Place the burgers on the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn them over with tongs. Put about 1/2 ounce of aged cheddar cheese on top of the burgers, allowing it to melt. While that's cooking, put the brioche circles on the grill. Let them toast slightly on both sides, about 2 minutes total time.

To put the burgers together: Put the toasted brioche circles on a platter. Top each with a small spoonful of Remoulade. Put the burger on top (cheese side up), followed by an arugula leaf, a slice of tomato and a slice of cornichon.

REMOULADE SAUCE (courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

2 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup of brunoise of red onion
1/2 cup of brunoise of red bell pepper
1/2 cup of brunoise of yellow bell pepper

Instructions: In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream, garlic, rosemary and paprika. Reduce by half. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a saute pan, heat the peanut oil. Sweat the onions, red and yellow bell pepper until glossy. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

PIZZA WITH SMOKED SALMON AND CAVIAR (courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

Makes 4 pizzas

1 recipe Pizza Dough (follows)
16 ounces smoked salmon, sliced paper-thin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut into julienne strips
1/4 bunch fresh dill, minced, plush 4 small sprigs for garnish
1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
Freshly ground pepper
4 heaping tablespoons domestic golden caviar
4 heaping teaspoons black caviar

Instructions:

Before you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside for 30 minutes to 500 degrees F.

After the dough has been rolled or stretched into four 8-inch circles, place the pizzas 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 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 creme fraiche 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. Cut each pizza into fourths and serve immediately.

PIZZA DOUGH

Makes 4 8-inch pizzas

1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
Toppings of your choice

Instructions:

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, yeast 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. Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball that rides around the side of the bowl on top of the blade.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should feel 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 should stretch easily as it is lightly pulled.

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

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 to form a smooth, even, firm ball. 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, balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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 its outer rim a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough.

To make smoked salmon pizza, continue recipe above.

CHINO FARMS CORN SOUP (courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

Makes 12 6-ounce portions

1/2 cup small diced bacon
1/2 cup small diced celery
1/2 cup small diced red onion
1/2 cup small diced yellow bell peppers
2 cups grated white corn (about 5 ears)
2 cups white corn cut off the cob (about 4 ears)
2 cups cream
2 cups whole milk
2 ounces olive oil
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, sweat the bacon, celery, onions and peppers, covered, until tender and translucent, approximately 12 minutes.

Add grated corn, cream and milk. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. You must constantly stir the soup to prevent scorching. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

In a large saute pan add 2 ounces of olive oil. Heat on high until the oil starts to haze. Add the cut corn and caramelized over medium-high heat until golden brown, or about 7 minutes.

Add the caramelized corn to the soup and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, sugar and cayenne pepper.