clam linguine by chef ceaira jackson photo by carmen troesser

8 easy recipes St. Louis chefs make at home

After a long day hustling in restaurant kitchens, St. Louis chefs still need to eat. We asked eight pros to share recipes for easy yet delicious meals, go-to pantry staples and quick hacks (Pro tip: Always have a pot of steamed rice in the fridge.) to take dinner on the fly to the next level.

Clam Linguine
Courtesy of Culture Food Group’s Ceaira Jackson
4 to 6 servings

Jackson said those leery of cooking shellfish can swap the clams for mushrooms or chicken.

12 oz. linguine, preferably fresh
4 Tbsp. butter, plus more for noodles
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. fresh littleneck clams, scrubbed
½ cup dry white wine
1 oz. Madeira
Juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (optional)

• Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook until al dente, 2½ to 3 minutes for fresh linguine and 9 minutes for dry linguine. Strain and toss with butter to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.

• Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

• Add the clams, white wine and Madeira. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the clams open, about 7 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.

• Add the lemon juice and cooked pasta and toss until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

• Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

Reprinted with permission from Cultured: A Book of Cocktails & Cuisine

Chicken and Rice Soup
Courtesy of Billie-Jean’s Ny Vongsaly
4 to 6 servings

This soup is Vongsaly’s comfort food – it reminds him of home. The chicken and golden garlic add flavor and richness, and the ginger and cilantro lighten it.

6 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 cups cooked jasmine rice
2 cups cooked, shredded dark-meat chicken
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. julienned ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 green onions, chopped
4 to 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

• In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to boil over high heat. Add the rice and chicken and boil 12 to 15 minutes, adding more broth as needed to thin the soup, if desired. 

• Meanwhile, add the oil to a skillet over high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the garlic and saute until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. 

• Stir the oil and garlic into the soup, along with the ginger. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

• Evenly divide the soup among serving bowls and garnish with the green onions and cilantro.

sean turner's miso soup // photo by carmen troesser

Miso Soup
Courtesy of Louie’s Sean Turner
4 to 6 servings

Turner said he makes this dish at home because it’s nourishing, quick –and doesn't use a lot of dishes.

6 to 7½ cups water
4 to 6 Tbsp. white miso paste, divided
4 to 6 small squares nori, divided
Soy sauce, to taste
1 bunch scallions, chopped
8 oz. firm tofu, diced
8 oz. shaved shiitake or beech mushrooms

Special equipment: Electric water kettle

• Bring the water to boil in a kettle or pot over high heat.

• While the water heats, add 1 to 2 tablespoons miso, 1 nori square and a dash of soy sauce to each serving bowl.

• Pour 1 to 2 ounces boiling water into each bowl and stir to dissolve the miso. Add the scallions, tofu and mushrooms, fill each bowl with the remaining water, stir and season to taste.

Caribbean Beans & Rice
Courtesy of Nudo House’s Marie-Anne Velasco
4 to 6 servings

Velasco said this budget-conscious recipe, which she learned while living in the Dominican Republic, helped her save for her first home.

1 to 2 bunches cilantro
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh, frozen or store-bought sofrito*
1 15-oz. can black or pinto beans, drained
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
Wedges of fresh lime, for serving
Steamed white rice, for serving

• Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and reserve the leaves for garnish. Chop the stems and set aside. 

• Warm the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sofrito and cilantro stems and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

• Add the beans, cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper and turmeric and saute 2 more minutes. 

• Fill the empty bean can halfway with water and add it to the pot. Add the vinegar and simmer 10 minutes.

• Serve over the steamed white rice. Garnish with the squeezed lime juice and reserved cilantro leaves.

*I always have sofrito in my freezer stored in 8-ounce deli containers. Roughly chop 2 red bell peppers, 2 green bell peppers and 2 yellow bell peppers, 3 bunches cilantro, a handful of garlic cloves and 2 white onions, then add to a food processor and pulse until combined. Add 4 1.41-oz. packets of Goya Sazon con Achiote Culantro seasoning, if desired.

jesse mendica's eggs and rice // photo by carmen troesser

Eggs and Rice
Courtesy of Olive + Oak’s Jesse Mendica
4 to 6 servings

For Mendica, this is the perfect quick meal: One skillet and great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a quick snack.

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 to 6 eggs
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked white rice
¼ cup water
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. The Ginger People pickled ginger
1 handful crunchy greens like spinach, pea tendrils or sprouts

• In a large skillet or wok, warm the butter and sesame oil over medium heat. 

• Add the eggs to the skillet and use a rubber spatula to barely scramble and fold until they are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes.

• Push the eggs to the cooler edge of the skillet or wok and raise the heat to high. 

• Add the peas to the skillet. When the peas start to sizzle, add the rice and toss everything together. 

• When the mixture starts to sizzle, stir in the water, pickled ginger, sunflower seeds and salt, to taste. Let steam 2 minutes, them remove from heat. 

• To serve, top each portion with greens.

Rainbow Rice
Courtesy of Balkan Treat Box’s Loryn Nalic
4 to 6 servings

Nalic learned to make this Brazilian dish while working at Yemanja Brasil in Benton Park. It quickly became a staple in her house, where she uses any leftover grain in her fridge.

3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium white onion, small dice
½ cup diced carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup diced red peppers
1 cup raisins
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
Leftover rotisserie chicken or ham (optional)
4 cups cooked rice or other grain
Chopped green onions, grated
Parmesan and chili oil or red pepper pepper flakes, for garnish

• In a large pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Saute the onion and carrots, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened but not browned. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown.

• Add the red pepper and saute 1 minute. Stir in the peas, corn and raisins, if using.

• Add the rice and saute about 2 minutes but do not brown. Add the chicken, if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

• Serve and garnish with Parmesan, green onion and chili oil or red pepper flakes.

michael gallina's vegetable fried rice // photo by carmen troesser

Vegetable Fried Rice with Frozen Egg 
Courtesy of Vicia’s Michael Gallina
4 to 6 servings

Gallina freezes eggs overnight, then thaws them before frying. He said the white remains loose and fries normally, but the yolk is putty-like, a texture Gallina and his wife, co-owner Tara Gallina, refer to as “egg butter.”

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup diced bacon or pancetta
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 cups cold cooked rice, preferably 1 to 2 days old
2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets with peeled and diced stems
2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, plus more as needed
Kosher salt, to taste
Butter, to fry the eggs
4 to 6 eggs, frozen in shell and thawed in the refrigerator overnight
Sea salt, to taste

• Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until crisp, about 3 minutes. 

• Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spring onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. 

• Return the pan to the stove and increase the heat to high. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Once very hot and just beginning to smoke, add the rice and saute until the edges are light brown, 3 to 4 minutes. 

• Fold in the broccoli, peas and the reserved onion-bacon mixture. Saute until the peas and broccoli are al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and season with the rice vinegar and salt, to taste.

• Spoon the rice mixture into serving bowls. 

• Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat and melt enough butter to coat the bottom. Crack 2 to 3 eggs into the pan and fry 2 to 3 minutes, basting the egg whites with the butter until they are set. Season the yolks with sea salt to finish. Top each bowl with an egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Serve warm.

What's in the Fridge Miso Soup
Courtesy of SweetArt’s Reine Bayoc
4 to 6 servings

Bayoc said as long as she has miso, vegetable broth and some random vegetables around, she has the ingredients for a hearty, filling dinner.

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup brown rice miso paste* or white miso paste
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups baby spinach
Silken tofu, slivered with a vegetable peeler (optional)
4 eggs (optional)
Chopped scallions and sesame oil, for garnish

• In a large pot at least 10 inches wide, bring the vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the miso until fully combined.

• Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Simmer 10 minutes.

•  Add the spinach and wilt. Add the tofu, if using.

• Bring the soup back to a boil over high heat. Quickly poach the eggs by adding them 1 at a time into the broth. Gently spoon hot broth over any exposed egg and poach 3 to 4 minutes, until set as desired. Turn off the heat.

•  Evenly divide the soup and eggs among 4 to 6 bowls and top with chopped scallions and a touch of sesame oil.

* Brown rice miso paste is available at Jay’s International Foods, 3172 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.2552, Facebook: Jay International Foods

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

Tags : Recipes, People