Overmiller began her professional career as a bartender and waitress at Proximo Restaurant Group's Austin Grill in Washington, DC. Realizing she craved more experience in the kitchen, she then made the shift to Cafe Atlantico, also part of Proximo, where she worked as a line cook while attending the esteemed L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland. In 2002, she graduated and accepted a position at Ristorante Tosca under the direction of Chef/Owner Cesare Lafranconi. At Tosca, she quickly moved her way up from Line Cook to Pastry Chef to Sous Chef. With a desire to broaden her experience after spending three years at Tosca, Lanfranconi made a phone call to Chef/Owner Cathal Armstrong on Overmiller's behalf, which brought her to Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Chef Armstrong's leadership taught Overmiller about the importance of local vendors and sourcing from local farms, along with honing in on her technical culinary skills. Armstrong added French techniques to Overmiller's Italian preparation, and soon she found a balance between both of her mentors' skills. As a 2004 Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation award recipient, Overmiller had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Italy and learn about ingredients and cooking techniques. She has proven herself in many kitchens and now, as the Executive Chef at the latest addition to the Armstrong's projects, which opened in May 2007, Overmiller continues to use the skills she has developed throughout the years.
Fried Green Tomatoes - Making Aioli
Chef Shannon Overmiller demonstrates how to make garlic aioli, which is basically a garlic Mayonnaise.
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Fried Green Tomatoes - Making Aioli
2 Large Green Frying Tomatoes
A pinch of cayenne
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons of salt
A pinch of pepper
Juice of two lemons
3 cups of canola oil
2 cups of olive oil
2 cups of sugar
4 cups of salt
Juniper berries and dried herbs
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of butter
1/2 teaspoon of garlic
2 Cups Flour
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 Cup Cornmeal or Semolina
2 Cups Buttermilk
4 Cups Plain Breadcrumbs
1. To make the garlic aioli, separate two yolks and place them in a blender with minced garlic. Blend for 10 minutes or until the mixture is fluffy and white. Add the olive oil slowly. When it is mixed in, add the canola oil slowly. This process should take 15 minutes. Add a pinch of pepper, salt, cayenne and lemon juice.
2. Grate the Ricotta Salata cheese in a cheese grater and put it in a bowl.
3. To make preserved lemons, slice the lemons lengthwise into a container. Add 1 part sugar to two parts salt. Pour the lemon juice and water in to cover the lemons. Add in juniper berries and other dried herbs. Leave the lemons in a sealed container for 2 weeks, stirring occasionally. Take off the yellow and dice finely to use as a garnish for the tomatoes.
4. To make onion tomato ragu, slice up an onion. Add olive oil and butter to a skillet. Add chopped garlic and onions. Let the onions saute. Prepare the herbs. Take canned tomatoes and add them to the ragu mixture. Let it simmer on low heat for 35-40 minutes. Add the herbs. At the end, add a little more olive oil and fresh basil in.
5. Take the green tomato and slice it half an inch thick. Season flour with salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg and semolina. In a mixing bowl, add two eggs and mix with a whisk. Dry the tomatoes slightly with the flour mixture, drop them into the egg mixture and then cover them in breadcrumbs.
6. Fry the breaded tomatoes in oil set at 375 degrees. Set them in a basket in the oil until they are golden and crispy.
7. Place a little ragu on a plate, put the fried tomatoes on top and add Riccota salata. Drizzle the garlic aioli over it and add the preserved lemons.
Shannon Overmiller: Hello! My name is Shannon Overmiller. I am a Chef at The Majestic in Old Town Alexandria. I will be preparing for you now garlic aioli, which is basically a garlic Mayonnaise. This is one of the garnishes to the fried green tomatoes. The texture is nice because it balances out the warm fried texture of the tomato with a nice creamy counterpart. Its a natural dish and its a natural flavoring enhancer for fried items in a mayonnaise based sauce.
So, today to begin I have a mixer here and I am going to start with separating two yokes always reserving your whites for future use placing into the mixer; simply separating by either using the two shells or even through your fingers. At this step what you would like to do is turn the mixer on high for a period of ten minutes or almost until fluffy and white. You also want to add in the equivalent of three or four cloves of garlic finally chopped and minced.
This is the stage where you want to beat your eggs and your garlic into fluffy and white, its very imperative when you do that.
So, at this stage you have to let the aioli go for ten minutes then you slowly begin emulsify your olive oil. So, once your eggs reach the fluffy white soft point and the garlic mixture this is when you want to start to slowly add your oil, very slowly because you dont want the emulsification to break. This process is called Emulsification.
You can start out with your olive oil and youll notice I do it slow steady stream of the olive oil; two cups olive oil.
This is lengthy process, but you have to take your time to do this correctly or your mixer will break and you wanted to maintain consistency that you want.
Once youve added all your olive oil then you go in with the Canola oil. This is three cups of Canola oil. Same process, slow emulsification. Altogether, this process will take you about 15 minutes.
Now that you have reached the mayonnaise consistency what you want to do is seasoning your aioli. We have the garlic inside, but we also need to add in the Italian pepper a pinch, salt to taste, and your lemon juice for your acid. If these things vary there is no exact recipe for this. It has to be a right balance of acid, heat not too hot, but just in the back of your throat and salt. These are personal preferences whatever you prefer.
The important thing is that you add the lemon and the salt in the last because at the end this can break your mixture. So, you dont want to add this to the very end after all of oil is going emulsify into the mixture.
Now, the pinch of Cayenne, generous with the salt; approximately two teaspoons, plus or minus then the juice of two lemons approximately, careful of the seeds.