JANUARY 7, 2013

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

ANDREW FRANCISCO, EXECUTIVE CHEF, METTLE, AUSTIN, TX

Andrew Francisco calls Austin home, but the well-traveled chef spent his high school years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia--a seminal experience that informs his cooking to this day. Francisco recently left his post as chef de cuisine at Olivia in Austin in order to open Mettle, an all-day bistro located on the city’s east side and slated to open in late February or early March.

The father of three young children, Francisco is constantly looking for healthful dishes that everyone will eat. His shrimp fried rice is a family favorite because it’s quick to prepare and can be made with a variety of ingredients, depending on what you have around. It will likely become a favorite of yours, too.

TRACK THIS CHEF

Andrew Francisco's:
See Recipe See the recipe for Andrew Francisco's Shrimp Fried Rice

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Good to the Grain

The first step to good fried rice? The rice. Day-old is best, as it is a little drier and won't turn to mush when stir-fried. You can use leftover takeout rice, or make your own. Jasmine rice works best; make sure the rice is cool before you begin.

Batch Point

Francisco recommends cooking the rice in batches, since home stoves don't get nearly as hot as commercial wok burners. He likes to include seasonal vegetables, from English peas to asparagus to corn and even diced, cooked golden beets. He seasons the rice with soy sauce and rice vinegar at the end because, he says, "When making fried rice, moisture is not your friend."

MAKE THE
Shrimp Fried Rice

YIELD

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Herb Salad

Small romaine heart, 1 (thinly sliced crosswise)

Small carrots, 3 (peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise)

Celery stalk, 1 (halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on a bias) plus 2 tablespoons celery leaves (roughly chopped)

Scallions, 2 (trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias)

Small red bell pepper, ½ (thinly sliced lengthwise)

English cucumber, ¼ (peeled, sliced into 1-inch segments, sliced lengthwise into thin planks and then stacked and sliced lengthwise into matchsticks)

Cilantro leaves, ½ cup (roughly chopped)

Flat-leaf parsley leaves, ½ cup (roughly chopped)

Mint leaves, 5 (roughly chopped)

Limes, 1 (halved)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Canola or olive oil, 1½ tablespoons

Fried Rice

Large eggs, 3

Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon plus a pinch and extra if needed

Sesame oil (not toasted), 2 teaspoons

Canola oil, 1 tablespoon

Medium yellow onion, ½ (finely chopped)

Jalapeño, 1 (halved, seeded and finely chopped)

Garlic cloves, 4 (finely chopped)

Fresh ginger, 1½ inches (skin scraped away with the edge of a spoon, ginger finely chopped)

Scallion, 1 (light green and white part only, finely chopped)

Jumbo shrimp, ½ pound (peeled and deveined)

Cooked long-grain white rice (such as jasmine), 2½ cups

Fresh or frozen and thawed petit peas, 2 cups

Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons

Rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon

Freshly ground black pepper

Lime, 1 (sliced into wedges)

EQUIPMENT

Cutting board

Chef's knife

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowls

Plastic wrap

Whisk

Wok or large nonstick skillet

Heat-safe rubber spatula

Platter for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. Make the herb salad: In a large bowl, toss together the:

  • Sliced romaine heart
  • Sliced carrots
  • Sliced celery and chopped celery leaves
  • Sliced scallions
  • Sliced red bell pepper
  • Cucumber matchsticks
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped mint

Squeeze over the salad the:

  • Juice from the lime halves

Season with:

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Toss to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

2. Make the fried rice: In a medium bowl, whisk together the:

  • Large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk until frothy, about 30 seconds. Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until nearly smoking, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the:

  • Sesame oil

Pour in the beaten eggs and use the heat-safe spatula to move the eggs around the pan until they begin to set, about 15 seconds. Continue to cook until the eggs are scrambled to your liking, about 1 minute longer for a medium-firm set. Turn the eggs out into a medium bowl.

3. Return the wok to high heat until almost smoking, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the:

  • Canola oil
  • Chopped onion

Cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 1 minute. Stir in the:

  • Chopped jalapeño
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped ginger
  • Chopped scallion
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the:

  • Peeled and deveined shrimp

Stir often until the shrimp start to curl, about 1 minute. Stir in the:

  • Cooked long-grain white rice
  • Petit peas
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Scrambled eggs

Cook, stirring, until the rice and peas are warmed through, about 8 minutes. Taste and season with:

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Turn out onto a platter, top with the herb salad and serve with the:

  • Lime wedges
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