On June 5, the Strang Chef Collective at Strang Hall in downtown Overland Park will present a French-themed five-course dinner created by Tora Zushi’s chef de cuisine, Cole Suchka. Click here for tickets.
Suchka’s dishes showcase his classic French training, but his ingredients are global. His curated, five-course menu is an exercise in surprise, with traditional standbys, such as coq au vin and steak tartare, served alongside wasabi aioli and vegan chicharrones.
“The recipes form my base, and all the ingredients I use are things I learned in life,” Suchka says. A Texas-raised former football player, Suchka pays homage to his roots while exploring the inventive ingredients more reflective of his culinary journey.
The third course of the dinner will be a traditional cassoulet of braised cannellini beans with pancetta, topped with Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs and served with seared sea scallops. Suchka shared step-by-step instructions for those lucky and daring enough to attempt cooking the cassoulet—along with the Argentinian chimichurri purée and Italian Parmesan frico wafer— on their own.
Cassoulet a la Scallops
Makes 6-8 Servings
For the Cassoulet
- 4 ounces boneless pancetta, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 4 cans cannellini beans, drained, reserving liquid of 1 can
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 (8- to 12-ounce) can duck confit, bones removed
- Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, cook pancetta and start to render fat in a saucepan cooking until golden brown; remove lardons and drain on paper towel.
Add diced vegetables and garlic to pancetta fat and sauté until translucent. Add tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with dry white wine and simmer vegetables for 5-8 minutes. Stir in reserved bean juice and add cayenne pepper and pancetta to mixture and keep warm.
Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter or pancetta fat. Add bean mixture to baking dish and pour in chicken broth halfway to the top of baking dish. Spread duck meat evenly over the top of bean mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 4 hours.
Remove foil, then cover top of casserole with panko breadcrumbs. Place back into the oven and bake until golden brown.
Remove cassoulet from oven to cool. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley before serving.
For the Chimichurri
- 2 cups chopped shishito peppers
- 2 shallots minced
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper
Place all ingredients into a blender except for olive oil. Blend on low for two minutes, then gradually turn the speed up to ensure everything is puréed.
With the blender still running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to obtain an emulsification. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
For the Parmesan Frico
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix Parmesan and lemon zest until well combined. Place small mounds of cheese around the size of a half dollar on the baking sheet, leaving around two inches of space between the mounds. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Check every 3-5 minutes (burnt cheese doesn’t taste good!). Let frico cool for 10 minutes before handling.
For the Scallops
- 12-15 scallops, thawed, patted dry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Pat scallops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable oil to a sauté pan set to high heat. Once pan is hot, sear each scallop for two to three minutes on each side (resist the urge to touch scallops until you are ready to flip) then set on a paper towel to rest.
- Scoop a serving of cassoulet onto plate.
- Place scallop on top of cassoulet.
- Lean Parmesan frico against the scallop.
- Garnish with additional fresh lemon zest.
- Drizzle chimichurri over the scallop and cassoulet (avoiding the frico, so it doesn’t get soggy).