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Delight New Year’s Eve party guests with glamorous hors d’oeuvres inspired by Chef John Griffiths of Truffles By liz miller Photography by jennifer silverberg



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Opposite page: Beet-pickled eggs wrapped in house-made speck. This page, clockwise from top left: Fresh popcorn with smoked ricotta and chives paired with a glass of champagne; Carne cruda with Parmesan, hazelnuts and olive oil; Poached lobster salad with cucumber, celery and sun gold tomato.

 B e e t P i c k l e d E g g s 1/4 pound beets, cooked, peeled and quartered 6 whole hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chilled 2 1/4 cups white vinegar 3/4 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 3 tsp salt 1 clove garlic, peeled 5 whole peppercorns In a large pot over high heat, boil beets in salted water. Once they are boiled, let chill until they are cool to the touch. Once chilled, quarter beets. Place peeled hard-boiled eggs and beets in a non-reactive container. In a large saucepan, add remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil. Pour over eggs and beets and cover. Ingredients can be refrigerated for 2 days to 2 weeks. Eggs will begin to color by day 2 and will darken more over time. They might also acquire a more robust flavor, so allow them to pickle according to taste. assembling the skewers 4 Beet Pickled Eggs, quartered (see above) 12 slices country ham or speck ham, halved 12 chives, sliced into 1 inch batons 12 wooden skewers With a hot, damp knife, quarter eggs lengthwise. Carefully wrap halved ham slices around eggs. Stab chive baton with skewer, then slide skewer through egg. Repeat.

“The beets pickled in this recipe also make a very tasty ingredient for other dishes. My personal recommendation is to mix them into a salad with shaved fennel, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan.” – Chef John


been nearly a year since Truffles launched its new concept, enchanting dinner guests with a fresh, gourmet take on seasonal Italian cuisine. Mid-year renovations put the finishing touches on Truffles’ metamorphosis, marking its place as one of the top dining destinations in St. Louis. The man at the helm of the restaurant’s renaissance is Chef John Griffiths, whose focus on local, farm-fresh ingredients has transformed the menu and mood with modern sophistication. With appetizers as mouthwatering and inventive as its main courses, this Ladue bistro would be a delightful locale for New Year’s Eve dinner and drinks — and, thanks to Chef John, holiday hostesses can dazzle party guests with recipes direct from his kitchen. “When you think about New Year’s Eve and any kind of holiday situation, it’s really celebratory,” says Chef John. “We look for ingredients that maybe you don’t use everyday. Ingredients that are kind of a treat and also provide a lot of color, contrast and texture. Holiday parties are exciting, so you want vibrancy in the food visually, as well as flavor-wise.” These two festive hors d’oeuvre recipes were hand selected by Chef John for at-home cooks to prepare tasty small plates from the comfort of home. STLOUISHOMESMAG.COM NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

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“When you buy mussels, soak them in lightly salted water for 30 minutes. Throw away any mussel that floats, or any mussels that have cracked shells. Some mussels have a “beard” or filament that protrudes from the opening of their shell. If this is present, pull it out. Strain mussels and cook. Mussels will cook uniformly, so when most have opened, they are done. Any that remain unopened are not viable to eat.” – Chef John

 M u s s e l s A c q u a P a z z A Sp e c i a l t y b u t t e r 1 pound of butter, softened 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp basil, chopped 2 tsp serrano chile powder 2 tsp coriander, ground 2 tsp fennel pollen 2 tsp black pepper, ground 2 tsp Calabrian chile powder 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp shallots Salt to taste In a food processor, combine softened butter, lemon juice and basil leaves until thoroughly blended. Add toasted ground spices and fold in garlic and shallots. Season with salt to taste. Butter can remain refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. A c q u a Pa z z a b r o t h Extra-virgin olive oil as needed 1/4 fennel bulb, shaved 2 cloves garlic, shaved or sliced 1 shallot, shaved or sliced 2 pounds mussels 1/2 cup dry white wine 2 cups vegetable broth 1/4 cup Specialty Butter (see above) 1/8 cup parsley

Top left: Chef John Griffiths creates culinary masterpieces in the Truffles kitchen. Top middle: A plated selection of house-made salumi served on a rustic driftwood platter. Top right: Marinated artichoke salad with saffron aioli. Above: Mussels bathed in acqua pazza (“crazy water”) broth served with crostoni, a larger, doughy slice of bread that absorbs broth better than crostini.


In large casserole dish over medium-high heat, add extra-virgin olive oil to coat pan. Add fennel and let caramelize. Add garlic and shallot to color very lightly. Next, add mussels, stirring well. Quickly turn to high heat and add wine, vegetable broth and at least 1/4 cup butter. Cover and cook over high heat on stove until mussels open, about 3 to 5 minutes. Once mussels have opened, add parsley and remove from heat. Serve warm with grilled bread. See for design resources.


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