Recipes from Barndiva’s Chef Ryan Fancher


Both of these recipes make the most of fruit and vegetables in late summer or early autumn, when ingredients are at the height of their season. They are great dishes to source at a local farmers market. 

Barndiva’s Heirloom Tomato & Compressed Watermelon Salad
Serves 4

1 medium watermelon
1 tsp. lemon verbena
1 large golden beet                          
1 large Detroit dark-red beet   
6 heirloom tomatoes
2 Tbsp. sweet basil
4 Tbsp. Spanish sherry vinaigrette 
Salt and freshly ground pepper                     
1 cup purslane (optional)                                   
2 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, diced                                                                                                
2 red radishes      

Spanish Sherry Vinaigrette
1 cup grape seed oil
1/3 cup Spanish sherry vinegar
A pinch of salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper

The Watermelon – The night before or a few hours before serving, cut into large cubes and sprinkle with the chopped lemon verbena. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
The Beets  – Cover with 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 clove garlic and a sprig of thyme. Cover and cook at 350° for 3 hours. Cool and slice.
The Heirloom Tomatoes – Slice them thickly and mix them in with the chopped sweet basil. In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Bathe the tomatoes in 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for 30 minutes or more. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Assemble  – Stack the tomatoes, largest one on the bottom. Arrange the watermelon. Dress the beets in the bathing vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and plate. Sprinkle ginger and thinly sliced radishes over the dish. Dress the purslane, and add it to the dish to finish.     


Herb-Roasted Local Halibut
Serves 4

8 baby artichokes
2 Tbsp. canola oil                          
4 cloves garlic                               
2 springs rosemary
Salt and pepper
20 fava beans    
1 zucchini                           
1 gold bar squash               
5 lbs. Roma tomatoes                   
15 Toy Box cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil                             
4 6-oz. halibut filets
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup tempura batter
4 squash blossoms                 

Tempura batter
1/2 cup flour
Corn starch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sparkling water

The Baby Artichokes  – Peel the outside layers to reveal the heart. In a hot pan, roast the artichokes with canola oil, garlic and rosemary until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
The Fava Beans  – Peel the favas, and cook them in boiling salted water for one minute. Let cool.
The Summer Squash – Cut the zucchini and squash into diamond shapes, and cook them just like the fava beans.
Vierge sauce  – Puree the tomatoes, and strain the clear liquid from the tomatoes through a clean kitchen towel. In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the liquid by half, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil.
Halibut – In a hot sauté pan, sear the fish until golden brown, being careful to not overcook. Baste with butter, garlic and rosemary.
Assemble – Pool the sauce in a bowl or shallow plate. Arrange the vegetables in the sauce, and nestle the halibut in the middle. In a bowl, mix the tempura batter’s ingredients, and dress the blossom lightly with the tempura batter. Fry in  350° oil until golden, and place on top of fish. 

More news: