No Gluten, Dairy or Refined Sugar? In This Chef’s Paleo-Friendly Recipes, You Don’t Miss Them

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IT’S BEEN A BUSY year for Portland, Ore., chef Gregory Gourdet. For five months, at the height of the pandemic, he ran Kann, a Haitian-inspired pop-up and outdoor yurt village. He also entered a pod of 180 people to film the Portland-based 18th season of “Top Chef,” in which he appeared not as a cheftestant, as he has in seasons past, but in the role of guest judge. Just this week, he published his first cookbook, “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health” (Harper Wave).

The recipes reflect Mr. Gourdet’s culinary CV as well as the way he eats at home. He earned his chops cooking light, bright, cosmopolitan fare in a number of star-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants, and he draws inspiration from the assertive flavors of Haiti, where his family is from, as well as other cuisines. After overcoming addiction several years ago, Mr. Gourdet took up an intense commitment to physical fitness and a paleo diet to fuel it. The recipes in “Everyone’s Table” contain no gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar or legumes. They are ideal for the modern family that likely accommodates at least one “dietary distinction”; Mr. Gourdet refuses to think of them as restrictions. The 200 vibrant, satisfying dishes—from tamarind barbecue ribs to luxurious slow-cooked salmon—stand out for how much flavor they pack in, not what’s “missing.” “You wouldn’t notice, and that’s the point,” writes Mr. Gourdet. “All you’d see is food you want to make.”

Essential kitchen tools



Photo:

Scott Barry for The Wall Street Journal

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The kitchen tool I can’t live without is: my spice grinder. I just use a $20 coffee grinder. And my small digital scale. And my Microplane, because I love zesting citrus with it, mincing ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks. It’s really handy. I tested my book with the worst blender in the world just to make sure that no matter what type of blender you have, you can make the recipes. But investing in a high-wattage blender is definitely something I encourage. It makes life so much easier.

The cookbook I turn to again and again is: “Thai Food” by David Thompson. I read that book a lot. And “Zahav” by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook—it’s very comprehensive. Another one of my favorite books is “American Seafood” by Barton Seaver. I love “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji López-Alt because of the science behind it, and it has such perfect basic techniques. And “Jubilee” by Toni Tipton Martin, for the history and culture and stories behind the food.

Various chiles



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Scott Barry for The Wall Street Journal

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My pantry is always stocked with: a vast array of chiles, from Thai chiles to chipotles, guajillo, ancho, chile flakes, chile oil. Alternative flours too: almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch. And alternative sweeteners: maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, palm sugar. Fish sauce. Also olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.

My refrigerator is always stocked with: oh god, nothing! It’s never stocked. When I was writing my book, I was recipe testing at a friend’s big, beautiful kitchen until the pandemic started. Then I was forced to finish my book from my little bachelor pad, and I had pots and pans just everywhere, and my fridge was overflowing with food. But as soon as I started working at my pop-up, I posted a picture of my fridge and I had three turkey slices, mustard, hot sauce, kimchi, sauerkraut and pikliz [the spicy Haitian condiment of pickled carrots, cabbage and chiles]. So I am not the best at having a stocked fridge. But I do always have hot sauce in there, and ferments and pickles. Always pikliz.

Coconut, olive and avocado oils



Photo:

Scott Barry for The Wall Street Journal

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The pan I reach for most is: my Finex cast iron. It’s a local company. They make these gorgeous handmade cast-iron pans with a unique eight-sided shape. They’re my go-to for roasting chicken and baking clafouti and quick cakes.

A drink I love is: Betera. It’s a botanical sparkling beverage that’s dry and refreshingly bitter. I enjoy drinking it after work when I’ve been tasting food all day and I’m a little bit tired and ready to unwind. It’s cleansing on the palate.

Go-to snack: a strawberry jelly and sunflower-seed butter sandwich.



Photo:

Scott Barry for The Wall Street Journal

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The most underrated ingredient is: salt. Not only does it develop flavor, it can bring out moisture in certain foods and soften them. If you salt onions, they’ll soften and lose their acridness. I use salt to cure things, like fish, or to marinate meat. It firms up the texture, creating a better mouth feel. Oftentimes when we feel a dish is lacking in flavor, we visualize how much salt we put in and think it’s already well seasoned. But adding just a little more salt can make it more round. And using different types of salt. I use kosher salt and sea salt and flaky sea salt. It’s fun to play with different salts for different methods.

If I’m not in my kitchen, I’m probably: watering my plants. I have about 200 houseplants and a little sunroom in my apartment. I like to sit there and look outside and spend time with my plants and just work or relax.

An array of different salts and alternative sweeteners.



Photo:

Scott Barry for The Wall Street Journal

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A food or drink I could happily have every day of my life is: coconut water. Because I am obsessed with anything coconut. I love coconut flavor. I love coconut milk. I love coconut oil. I love coconut cream. I love coconut caramel. I love coconut-scented soaps and lotions. As far as prepared dishes go, my go-to is either a strawberry jelly and sunflower-seed butter sandwich or roast chicken. I think it’s a tie.

—Edited from an interview by Gabriella Gershenson

This salmon owes its remarkable tenderness to a foolproof technique Mr. Gourdet learned from Jean Georges Vongerichten. The tart, spicy sauce takes its name from a character in Haitian folklore. If you can’t find red pearl onions, shallots cut in ¼ -inch half-moons work, too.

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Eva Kosmas Flores

Ingredients

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  • 3 cups red pearl onions
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 limes
  • 1 large Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, very finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 2-pound salmon fillet
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Make the sauce: Soak onions in a small bowl of warm water for 20 minutes to loosen skins. Take a few onions at a time out of the water, trim the tips and bottom nubs, and use a small paring knife to peel off the skins. When you’ve peeled them all, halve them lengthwise.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine onions and salt, toss well, and let sit 15 minutes. Once onions have softened, pull the layers apart. Use a Microplane to finely grate zest limes into bowl, then halve 1 or 2 limes and squeeze in 3 tablespoons juice. Reserve remaining limes for another use. Stir in chile and vinegar. Let everything sit 15 minutes more.
  3. Transfer mixture to a small pot, add oil and thyme, and set over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent but still have a slight crunch, 7-8 minutes. Sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks. Before serving, gently reheat in a small pan to just a little warmer than room temperature.
  4. Make the salmon: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season salmon all over with salt. Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a baking dish and rub to coat. Lay salmon in dish skin-side down (if your salmon has skin). Drizzle on remaining oil to cover fish. Bake just until salmon goes from bright pink to light orange, with tiny white beads on the surface at the thickest part, or until internal temperature registers 120 degrees on a thermometer, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a platter and spoon sauce over.

To explore and search through all our recipes, check out the new WSJ Recipes page.

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