Culinary Demonstration – California Grill – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2012

Eddie Mendoza, California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

October 9, 2012

Amy Meddins (wine), John Ekin (host), and Eddie Mendoza (chef)

 Wine: Sterling Vineyards (California), Napa Merlot

Amy Meddins

Amy Meddins is back with a Napa Valley Merlot (vintage 2009). The first vintage from Sterling Vineyards was 1969 and they were the first winery to put “Merlot” (actually referring to the grape) on the label. For California wines, at least 75% of the grape in the bottle must be Merlot in order to label the wine as Merlot. If there isn’t at least 75% of a single grape in the bottle, it must be labeled a Red Blend or a Red Table Wine.

Sterling Vineyards Napa Merlot 2009

 Tasting Notes:

  • nick says: that smells even better, sweeter (than the wine earlier today); without food there’s too much tannin on the finish
  • nora says: smells jammy and berry; without food it’s okay, but not as nice as the wine earlier


Rabbit Loin Wrapped in Proscuitto with Leek Spaghettini and Roasted Mushrooms

Leek Spaghettini and Roasted Mushrooms; Rabbit Loin wrapped in proscuitto and caul fat; and Espresso Port Buerre-Rouge (sauce)

Our chef, Eddie Mendoza, had a lot of good information to share with us…

  • this dish is made with domestic rabbit loins, these are very lean (you can substitute chicken tenderloins because they’re similar in fat content, can also substitute pork tenderloin)
  • because rabbit is so lean, you need to add fat to it or cook in soups or stews
  • since proscuitto has salt and mustard has salt, the rabbit isn’t salted
  • when making a loin roll, alternate placement of the loins so that thick ends are paired with thin ends
  • caul fat: rinse it in a little water and it relaxes out into a net, this can be cooked without caul fat but it won’t be as crispy and the cooking process is trickier too; it pretty much cooks away during the searing process
  • leeks: member of the onion family, they are grown in sand and must be washed after cutting them (discard the dark green tops)
  • beurre-rouge: butter, port (red) wine, espresso; if butter doesn’t thicken the sauce, remove the oil that is released from the butter and just add more butter
  • can precook and refrigerate it for reheating later, if you do that, you should wrap it in plastic wrap so that the shape is maintained

Recipes: Serves 4 as entree, 8 as appetizers

Close up of Rabbit Loin Roll

Rabbit Loin Roll

  • 6 rabbit saddles (12 clean loins, 3 per portion)
  • 1 tbs whole grain mustard
  • 1 tbs chives, minced
  • 24 thin slices of proscuitto (6 per portion)
  • 4 oz caul fat (optional)
  • Leek Spaghettini (recipe follows)
  • Espresso Port Beurre-Rouge (recipe follows)
  1. You can have the rabbit cleaned by your butcher, or purchase prepared loins. Once you have clean loins, toss with mustard and chives. Refrigerate (5-10 minutes is fine).
  2. Place 3 pieces of proscuitto onto a cutting board vertically, slightly overlapping. Place 3 more pieces of prosciutto onto the first 3, horizontally, slightly overlapping (should yield 4 proscuitto “mats”).
  3. Remove the rabbit loins from the refrigerator and match loins by similar sizes into groups of three.
  4. Place each group atop a proscuitto “mat” by laying two loins atop the mat, and lay the final loin atop the other two.
  5. Carefully roll the proscuitto around the rabbit and rest on the seams. Refrigerate.
  6. Cut caul fat into rectangles large enough to wrap each rabbit bundle.
  7. Tightly wrap the rolls, then wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. When ready to serve, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Coat bottom of pan with vegetable oil.
  9. Add rabbit bundles and turn until all sides are golden and cook to desired doneness. When all sides have developed a golden color, you should be about medium rare. Keep moving in pan or finish in the oven. Remove from heat and rest the meat.
  10. Divide Leek Spaghettini evenly among 4 plates. Be careful that the cream is not running on the plate.
  11. Slice rabbit bundles into coins and lay over leeks. Spoon sauce around the leeks and serve. Enjoy!
    • Presentation: Remove ends, cut roll in half, one half cut on bias, other half cut into three medallions

A good view of the Leek Spaghettini

Leek Spaghettini
  • 1 cup mixed mushrooms, cut into 1″ pieces if necessary
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and cut into fine julienne (whites only)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp chives, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan; add mushroom and cook until warmed through.
  2. Add the leeks and heat until wilted.
  3. Add the heavy cream and reduce until it becomes a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.
  4. Finish with chives and season with salt and pepper.

The redness of the beurre-rouge is a bit strange on the pink rabbit…

Espresso Port Beurre-Rouge

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 oz brewed espresso
  • 12 oz Port
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs raw sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place a small piece of butter into a pan, heat and add shallots and sweat over medium heat.
  2. When shallots are translucent, add espresso and reduce by half
  3. Add port, bay leaf, and sugar. Simmer and reduce until it’s syrup.
  4. Whisk in remaining cold butter, a small amount at a time, and emulsify (be careful not to break sauce). Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Strain and hold warm for use.

 Our notes:

  • Plate color is a poor choice
  • Can taste the espresso in the sauce
  • The mushrooms are exquisite
  • Wine with food not so good, too much tannin – but with a bit of salty proscuitto, it improves greatly
  • Rabbit by itself is pretty blah
  • Leeks are fantastic
  • Chef Eddie prepared all of the food and didn’t fake hit (kudos)
  • Chef tasted the food as he cooked, YAY!

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