Looking for the perfect side dish to accompany an entree? Or perhaps you need a tasty appetizer to kick off the meal. We asked some of Nashville’s top chefs to share their recipes for starters and sides, and we bet you’re going to love what they offered up.
Local Chefs’ Recipes for Starters and Sides
Chef Julia Jaksic, Cafe Roze
This wonderful avocado hummus, paired with grilled bread, is a light starter that satisfies the palate. It’s also easy to make and perfect for a mid-day snack. “I love my avocado hummus because it’s an easy dip to make in the food processor and a way to use avocados that are starting to turn,” says Chef Julia.
- 4 ripe avocados
- ½ cup navy beans or cannellini beans (cooked or canned)
- ½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- Zest of half a Lemon
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Slice the avocados in half, remove pits and skins and scoop them into a food processor.
- Add the beans (drain and rinse if using canned), garlic, tahini, lemon juice and zest.
- Blend all ingredients until smooth, and slowly add the olive oil and salt to taste.
- Serve with pita or your favorite toasted bread.
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Pastry Chef Jennifer Coins, Miel
This recipe is a delightful way to top a salad to start off a meal. Created by Miel’s pastry chef, Jennifer Coins, the recipe is measured in grams rather than standard measurements. “Using grams is highly accurate so a recipe can be replicated exactly,” shares Miel owner Seema Prasad. She recommends this online conversion guide to assist you with making this dressing, also noting it will last in the fridge for at least a month.
- Anchovy, 50 grams
- Garlic, 40 grams
- Black peppercorns, 5 grams
- Ginger, 60 grams
- Parmesan, 160 grams
- Dijon, 30 grams
- Lemon juice, 185 grams
- Salt, 5 grams
- Honey, 50 grams
- Yolks, 135 grams
- Olive oil, 155 grams
- Blended oil, 215 grams
- In a blender, add anchovy, garlic, black peppercorns, ginger, parmesan, Dijon, lemon juice, salt, honey, egg yolks.
- Blend until smooth.
- On medium-high speed, slowly drizzle in olive oil and blended oil.
- Check for seasoning.
Pantry Butters on Toast
Chef Deb Paquette is all about using what you have on hand to create something even more elevated. She tells us, “If you have some extra butter in your freezer, break it out and get it to room temperature. Find a condiment in your fridge or pantry to make a special butter for your bagel or toast … or maybe to top a sweet potato or chicken breast. There’s almost always half-empty jars of mustards, jams and other mix-ins you can put together to spruce it up. I always like going for a sweet and savory combination, but have fun with it!”
She recommends testing flavors and even considering outside-of-the-box combinations such as Hershey’s chocolate sauce with instant coffee, Indian chutney with toasted coconut, or jam and Sriracha. “The options are endless, but be sure just to add little bits of the condiments, taste, and then add more if need be,” she says. Here, she shares the recipes for a couple of her favorites to have on toast.
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- 2 tsp chipotle peppers
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ¼ cup creole mustard
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ of a small apple, diced
- In a medium-sized bowl, mash the butter in a bowl to soften.
- Use a spoon or whisk to incorporate your condiments.
- Heat the diced apple in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften up.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mash the butter to soften.
- Use a spoon or whisk to add the apple and mustards.
Garlic Bread Soup
Chef Brian Landry, Marsh House
This easy (not to mention, heavenly!) garlic bread soup is beyond comforting. It’s also sophisticated enough to impress your family. Even better, you’ll likely find all of the ingredients in your pantry. “This is my spin on a traditional Spanish garlic soup,” says Chef Brian. “I love the simplicity of this dish. There is something so comforting about the taste of roasted garlic, especially when paired with caramelized onions, rich chicken broth and a touch of cream. I love to roast whole heads of garlic while I am roasting a chicken just so I can make this soup the next day.”
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 head of roasted garlic, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ quart chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 ounces stale bread croutons, large chop
- 1 stem thyme, sachet
- 1 bay leaves, sachet
- 5 stems parsley, sachet
- Salt to taste
- White pepper to taste
- Caramelize onions in a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
- Add roasted garlic and deglaze with white wine. Reduce wine by half.
- Add stock, heavy cream and herb sachet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add bread and simmer for additional 10 minutes.
- Puree in small batches in a blender on high.
- Season with salt and white pepper.
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