What inspires these Marjorie dishes? Well, chef Zephyr Paquette says, “I walk through the farmer’s market just to get turned on.”

By Rosin Saez
May 18, 2016

The menu over at Marjorie on Union St is a reflection of the seasons. “At Marjorie we love to play with dishes from around the globe,” says owner Donna Moodie. It’s an ever-evolving restaurant, tuned to the season (and plays some sweet tunes during dinner, too). This spring, Moodie and Marjorie chef, Zephyr Paquette, are playing with Israeli flavors, local leeks and pea vines, as well as fresh sheep’s milk cheese from Black Sheep Creamery.

Follow along as chef Paquette takes Ethnic Seattle through two delightful spring recipes: Wild Leek & English Pea Risotto and Shakshuka.

 

Wild leek and peavine risotto. Photo: Phoebe Poon

Wild leek and peavine risotto. Photo: Phoebe Poon

Wild Leek & English Pea Risotto 

Marjorie creates a creamy risotto using wild leeks and local English peas from Washington farms. This clearly global dish becomes decidedly local when chef Paquette sources ingredients from places like Local Roots Farm, Spring Rain Farms, Foraged and Found, Mushroom Joe, Willowwood on Whidbey Island, and more.

“Not only are we using the peas, this is pea juice. We take the shells and run it through the juicing machine. It doesn’t get more pea flavor than pea tendrils and pea juice.”—Zephyr Paquette

“One shortcut that restaurants take with risotto, which is great for the homecook, is that you can have your rice parcooked. It’ll still get all the flavors, it’ll still have that rich, very fresh taste,” Moodie tells Ethnic Seattle.

Time from start to finish: By prepping the rice and leeks a day before, you could whip this dish up in about 15 minutes. Without any day-ahead prep, the dish will probably take around an hour and half from start to finish. Find the entire wild leeks and English pea risotto recipe at the bottom of this post.

Can you believe that's sheep's milk cheese and not egg? Photo: Phoebe Poon

Can you believe that’s sheep’s milk cheese and not egg? Photo: Phoebe Poon

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a classic and traditional Israeli dish, which normally comes with eggs poached in a hearty tomato sauce. The Marjorie twist makes shakshuka sans eggs, but instead provides richness via fresh sheep’s milk cheese (only available in the spring time) from Chehalis-based Black Sheep Creamery. You can use a similarly textured soft cheese such as chèvre instead, especially if you like the tang of a goat’s milk cheese.

For the shakshuka base use carrots, red pepper, ginger, and fresno peppers. “It has a really nice heat to it without being overwhelming at all,” explains chef Paquette.

Two satisfyingly spring-worthy dishes. Photo: Phoebe Poon

Two satisfyingly spring-worthy dishes. Photo: Phoebe Poon

“I walk through the farmer’s market just to get turned on.”—Zephyr Paquette

Chef Zephyr Pacquette (left) and owner Donna Moodie showing off the risotto and shakshuka. Photo: Phoebe Poon

Chef Zephyr Paquette (left) and owner Donna Moodie showing off the risotto and shakshuka. Photo: Phoebe Poon

Shakshuka

Ingredients

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (San Marzano are the best)
One 6-ounce can of tomato paste
2 teaspoons each finely chopped: ginger, shallot, and fresno pepper
1 tablespoon ras al hanout spice (World Spice is a great source)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, mint, and parsley
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Soft, fresh sheep’s milk cheese (Black Sheep Creamery is Marjorie’s favorite; but goat’s cheese, or chèvre, works well also)
Grilled bread (long slender sliced baguette, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt; Marjorie uses Columbia City Bakery)

Method

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil; add the shallot, pepper, ginger mix and ras al hanout. Saute for 10 minutes starting high, then lowering to medium. Add tomatoes, bring to a near boil, then lower heat and simmer for two hours, on very low, stirring occasionally. Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste and add fresh herbs. Place in an ovenproof bowl. Top with quenelles, or oval-shaped, ice cream–like scoops of cheese. Bake or broil until lightly golden brown. (Pro tip: One scoop for each diner is terrific and smaller quenelles look more elegant). Serve with grilled bread. Recipe serves two.

 

Wild Leek & English Pea Risotto

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (plus pea puree, if you can juice the remaining pea shells; or asparagus if using)
1 to 2 cups white wine such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
4 ounces of butter
2 cups risotto, or arborio, rice
2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
1 pound of English peavines; asparagus also works well as a substitute (asparagus: you will chop off tips and reserve; boil the remaining bits of the asparagus, puree, and reserve to use with stock.)
1/2 cup mascarpone
4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh arugula as a side
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 lemon (freshly squeezed over greens)

Method

In a saute pan on high, heat olive oil and butter until the butter is melted. Add shallot and risotto, stirring constantly. After 5 minutes, add 1/2 of the wine, stir until absorbed; add 1/2 of stock, stir until absorbed. Finally, add the remainder of the wine, being sure to allot enough time for the alcohol in the wine to cook off, otherwise your risotto will have a slight alcohol taste. Use the rest of the liquid in the fashion that you like your risotto: If you like a wet, saucy risotto, add all of it, or  if you prefer a dryer risotto, hold back. Finish by whisking in the mascarpone, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the garnish of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano atop fresh greens, such as arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil with a little lemon juice.

For more information about the lovely cuisine at Marjorie, be sure to visit marjorierestaurant.com—or better yet, visit Marjorie at 1412 E Union for dinner.