Pumping Up Roasted Vegetables – Chef Jeffrey Boullt, SOCIAL in Costa Mesa, Masters Veg

Chefs, Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants By Aug 01, 2015

 Roasted Vegetables with French Feta and Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde

I ate his Kurobuta pig head, carnitas style with warm tortillas and assorted sauces. The experience was a combination of sublime enjoyment and suppressed jitters, an off-the-beaten path encounter that made me perch on the edge of my seat.


Jeffrey Boullt isn’t menu timid. The executive chef at SOCIAL, a new-American restaurant in Costa Mesa, Boullt favors vibrant flavors.


He says many of his dishes have a strong Southern backbone but use fresh California ingredients. They reflect thought and talent, using components that echo a career spent working in highly creative, demanding kitchens.

The prestigious list includes Commander’s Palace (New Orleans), Tavern (Los Angeles) and Playground (Santa Ana).

(Thanks to Curt Norris for his videography, editing, and photography.)

He joined me in my home kitchen to show me how he enriches roasted vegetables with crumbled feta and salsa verde, a sauce that’s a twist on the Italian version. Along with fresh green herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, capers, anchovies and garlic, he included finely diced Meyer lemon (the thin rind included) in the sauce; the citrus variety contributed a blend of lemon and orange tastes and scents.




It was delicious with the roasted veg, but would be equally seductive atop grilled pork or fish, goat cheese or poultry.

And the good news for home cooks is that the sauce can be prepared a day or two ahead and refrigerated.


Eat Retreats: Vacations with his wife focus on good eats. She tries to keep up with him, but often he gets caught sneaking out of hotels alone while she is still sleeping, excursions meant to sample more out-of-town dishes. The last time was in Portland, OR, where he was morning solo-noshing at Pok Pok, an eatery famous for their Thai-themed street food.

Cutting edge: His favorite chef’s knife is made by Richmond Addict, an American-made knife that he says sits a little taller around the blade, important because he describes his paws as “monster hands.”

Home Roots: He grew up in Fountain Valley and attended Huntington Beach High School where he took his first cooking classes. He and his wife live in Long Beach with their Basset hound, Lionel.

Roasted Vegetables with French Feta and Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound assorted vegetables, washed, such as asparagus, spring onion, heirloom carrots (peeled), sugar snap peas (strings removed)
1 cup scrubbed morels or other fresh mushrooms of your choice (if large halved or quartered)
2 heads of garlic, halved through equator
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled chilled French feta cheese, such as Valbreso
Optional: 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 cup Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde, recipe follows
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prep and trim vegetables (he cut carrots and spring onions in half lengthwise, left asparagus and sugar snap peas whole).
2. In a large mixing bowl combine all vegetables, mushrooms, garlic, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper. Set a roasting rack in a large rimmed baking sheet. Put vegetables on rack, leaving space between them. Place in oven and cook for 6 to 10 minutes, then rotate sheet pan and toss vegetables to ensure equal cooking on all parts. Let veggies cook about 5 to 7 minutes more; keep an eye on them – they should be tender-crisp and lightly browned – some may cook faster than others and will need to be removed.
3. Place vegetables on serving platter. Sprinkle with feta and Aleppo pepper, if using. Spoon the Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde on top of vegetables. Garnish each plate with halved head of garlic.
Source: Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt, Social, Costa Mesa


Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde
Yield: 3 cups
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 anchovy filets
1/2 cup capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 thinly sliced Meyer lemon, remove seeds, cut into 1/4-inch dice including rind
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. In a mortar (with a pestle) or food processor, add garlic, anchovies, capers, lemon juice and 1/4 cup oil; process into a paste. Add parsley, mint, and 1/4 cup oil; pound or pulse until incorporated but still coarse. You may need to do this in two batches if your mortar is small.
2. Place in bowl. Add Meyer lemon and 1/2 cup oil; season with salt and black pepper, but be cautious with salt; anchovy and capers will give a natural strong salt content.

Here’s a quick tip from Melissa’s!

Roast cauliflower with extra-virgin olive oil and garlic, and get ready to be dazzled.

It is scrumptious!

To roast cauliflower, preheat oven to 450 degrees and blanch the unpeeled cloves from 1 head of garlic in boiling water for 25 seconds. Drain and peel garlic. If cloves are large, cut in half lengthwise. Toss garlic with 1 large head of cauliflower (cut into 1- to 2-inch florets) and 3 1/2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Roast 18 to 24 minutes, tossing twice during roasting. Season to taste with course salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To see how, watch the video (the cauliflower how-to is at the end). Yum.

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