Food & Drink » $20 Dinners

$20 Dinner with Kevin Rathbun

Humble attitude and sophisticated style come together in Rathbun's kitchen



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Tuna crudo

• 3 ounces tuna steak, uniform thin slices with scraps finely chopped
• 1 orange, cut into small cubes
• 1 serrano pepper, thin slices
• A few cilantro leaves, trimmed
• 1 tablespoon cilantro root, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
For vinaigrette:
• Juice of half a orange
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
• Salt and pepper to taste

Combine orange juice, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl, stirring until emulsified. Arrange tuna slices on plate, garnish with serrano, orange cubes and cilantro leaves, dress with a couple tablespoons of vinaigrette. Combine finely chopped tuna, orange zest, cilantro root and salt, gently shaping with a spoon for the side of the plate.

Masa soup

• 2 tomato centers
• Chicken broth from a whole chicken
• 1 package corn tortillas, sliced and deep fried (corn chips will substitute fine)
• 1 serrano pepper, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• Juice of half a lime
• Handful of cilantro leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, reserving two small handfuls of fried tortilla, and cook at a simmer for at least a half hour, longer is better. Take off the heat, let cool until it is safe to move to the blender and purée until smooth. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fried tortillas and a generous heaping of crema.


• 1/2 cup sour cream
• Juice of half a lime
• Pinch salt
• Pepper to taste

Combine Mexican sour cream, lime juice, pinch of salt, cracked pepper and a splash of tequila, if you have it on hand, in bowl.

Chicken broth

• 1 whole chicken, broken down with the breasts removed and set aside
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 3 corn cobs

Combine all in wide pot, cover with water (about a quart or so), and bring to boil, slow to simmer. Cook while preparing the other dishes, at least an hour.

Bacon-wrapped chicken

Ingredients • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied
• 10 slices bacon, very, very thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup cilantro root, finely chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the cilantro root, salt and pepper across the inside of the butterflied chicken breasts, then roll together. Create a mat of bacon slices by slightly overlapping the edges, five per breast, and roll around the breast. Place the rolls on a rack above a dripping pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the breast is done and firm. Serve with a heaping of tomato onion crudo and a side of corn.

Tomato-onion crudo

• 2 tomato outer sections, finely chopped
• 1/2 onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
• Juice of half a lime
• Big pinch of salt
• Cracked pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Grated corn

• 4 ears of corn, grated with the large section of a cheese grater
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Big pinch of salt

Put just the corn in small sauce pot, cover and put in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Let it cook while everything else does, about an hour or so. Combine with butter and salt. Garnish with crema.

Peach and fig sabayon

• 2 peaches, thinly sliced
• 6 or so figs, thinly sliced
• 2 egg yolks
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons orange juice
• Zest of a whole orange

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and orange juice together in a bowl, holding over a small pot of simmering water. Keep moving with the whisk, careful to occasionally remove the bowl from the heat so that mixture thickens but does not seize or scramble. Once the sauce is fully formed, fold most of the orange zest into the sauce. Serve the peach and fig slices with a generous pouring of sabayon sauce and a few pinches of the remaining orange zest.

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