Recipes: Favorites From Michael Schlow

Michael Schlow got his start in the restaurant business by washing dishes and fantasizing about his own business. Now, the award-winning chef behind five successful restaurants in Boston and Connecticut, shares a few of his favorite recipes.

The Schlow Burger

Recipe courtesy of Michael Schlow

Makes two burgers

18 ounces ground beef (ask the butcher for 80 percent lean)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) extra virgin-olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish
Juice of half a lemon
2 thick slices of good quality Vermont or English cheddar cheese
2 hamburger buns, split in half
Crispy onions (recipe follows)

Crispy onions

Yields about ½ cup, enough for 2 burgers

1 large yellow onion, sliced into very thin rings, 1/3-to-1/8-inch thick
2 cups canola oil

Instructions for the onions

Place onion rings and oil in a small sauce pot. Don't worry if the rings break apart; it won't ruin the final product. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to a very low simmer. The heat releases the onions' natural sugars, and in essence, causes them to melt.

Turn the onions with a fork every thirty seconds or so, and cook until they turn golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Adjust the heat, if needed, to maintain a low simmer.

Remove the onions from the oil and arrange in a single layer on paper towels. At this point, the onions won't yet be crispy, but I promise you that after a few minutes, as the caramelized sugars cool and harden, the onions will become deliciously crisp.

Instructions for the burgers

Chef's Note: The sauce can be made up to three days ahead; the onions can be prepared early on the day they will be served.

Combine the ground beef with the olive oil, salt, and plenty of black pepper. Divide the meat into two 9-ounce patties and refrigerate until the grill is ready. Don't do this more than an hour in advance.

Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and season with black pepper. (You can do this ahead of time and store it in the fridge.) Heat the grill to high.

Take the hamburgers out of the refrigerator 5 to 7 minutes before you are ready to grill them. Place the burgers on the preheated grill and cook 1 ½ minutes (for rare).

Give the burgers a quarter turn to "mark" them, and cook 1 ½ more minutes. Flip the burgers over and cook 1 ½ minutes. Rotate a quarter-turn to "mark" and cook 1 ½ more minutes.

Transfer the burgers to the grill's top shelf or to a cooler section of the grill and cover each one with a slice of cheese. Turn the grill off and shut the lid.

After 4 minutes, open the lid. The cheese will be melted and the burgers cooked rare to medium-rare. Toast the buns, if desired, and place a burger on each.

Spread plenty of the horseradish sauce on each burger; it should drip down the sides. Top with crispy onions and season with freshly ground black pepper. Slather more sauce on the other half of the bun and place it on the top of the burger.

Tuna Sashimi with Pickled Watermelon

Recipe courtesy of Michael Schlow

Serves two

6 1-ounce pieces of sushi grade tuna
1 tea ponzu
6 1-ounce pieces of ripe watermelon (dipped in rice vinegar for 1 minute)

2 tablespoons of kohlrabi (chopped, raw) pinch of chopped basil
1/2 tea of yuzu juice
1/2 tea of extra virgin olive oil
1 tea of pine nuts
Pinch of togarashi
Few leaves of upland cress


Arrange 3 pieces of tuna sashimi on 2 plates, brush with the ponzu.

Arrange 3 pieces of watermelon next to the sashimi.

Mix the kohlrabi, basil, yuzu, and oil in a small bowl, spoon over watermelon.

Sprinkle the pine nuts over and around watermelon garnish plate with upland cress.

Bass with Piquillo Peppers, Clams, Ham and Saffron Broth

Recipe courtesy of Michael Schlow

Serves two

2 to 6 ounce portions of cleaned bass, skin on (black, sea, loup de mer)
2 piquillo peppers, cut into diamonds
6 small clams, steamed, and removed from shell
6 pieced of escargot
2 ounce of spicy ham (tasso), diced
1/4 of a zucchini sliced thinly into small triangles
1/2 Idaho potato, cut into med dice and blanched till tender
2 pinches of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 ounces of saffron broth (recipe to follow)

Saffron broth

Makes 1 quart (and freezes beautifully)

1 large carrot, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
3 spears of celery, chopped
1 head of fennel, chopped
1 sprig of tarragon
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 an orange
2 quarts of water
3 lime leaves
1 pinch of saffron
Salt and white pepper to taste

Instructions for saffron broth

In a sauce pot, add everything except the lime leaves, saffron, salt and pepper. Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil.

Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Strain, return to heat, and reduce liquid until 1 qt of liquid remains.

Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and allow to steep for 30 min. Strain again and reserve for use.

Instructions for sea bass

Before starting fish, heat saffron broth in small sauce pan, keep hot.

Over high heat, place sauté pan with 2 oz of olive oil, allow to heat for 1 minute.

Season fish with salt and pepper, and place skin side down into oil. Shake pan to make sure it's not sticking. While fish is starting to brown, start vegetables.

Place a saute pan with 2 oz of olive oil over high heat. Add zucchini and saute for 30 second. Add 1 pinch of thyme, ham, clams, peppers, potatoes, salt and pepper and gently warm for 1-2 minutes

Once skin on fish is golden brown, flip fish and remove from heat. Add 1 pinch of thyme and baste fish for a few seconds. Add lemon juice to both fish and vegetables and check seasoning on vegetables.

To plate, place vegetables between 2 shallow bowls, top with fish, divide broth between bowls and serve.