The culinary showdown heats up between Justine Smith, Executive Chef, and Lukas Gurtner, Culinary and Beverage Director and previous Executive Chef, in this exciting black box challenge presented by Barnston Island Herbs

Each chef is given an identical Barnston Island Herbs CSA box of mystery ingredients and 2 hours to unleash their creative talents and create a memorable dish using all of the fresh, local ingredients in the box. We invite our audience to vote for their favorite dish on our Instagram on August 21, 2020 to determine the Barnston Blackbox winner. 



  • Artichoke
  • Eggplant
  • Mini Potato 
  • Bok Choy
  • Garlic 
  • Shallots 
  • Lychee 
  • Microgreens

Barnston Island Herbs have been a part of Sonora’s kitchen for many years. They are a local grower of herbs, greens and vegetables from their own farm, and they also source local vegetables and organics from other organic suppliers. This summer they are offering CSA boxes in a variety of sizes and types. Check our their website for all the details! #eatlocal #exploreBClocal #sonoraloveslocal


Our chefs are delighted to share their recipes used in this challenge. For more exquisite recipes to try at home, we invite you to connect with us about acquiring the Tastes of Sonora Resort Cookbook

Lukas Gurtner

Spiced Tart with Bok Choy and Potato Flan

Spiced Tart with Bok Choy and Potato Flan
Confit, crispy and pickled vegetables, roasted eggplant, hoisin aioli, lychee foam
Serves 4


500g A.P. Flour
250g Butter 
125g Water (ice cold) 
1 Egg Yolk 
1 Tablespoon Star Anise (ground) 
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (ground)
1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed (ground)
1 Tablespoon Szechuan Peppercorn (ground) 
1 Teaspoon Salt 

Take your butter and cut it into small cubes and place it in the fridge to stay cold. Add your spices, salt, and flour together and mix them together. Now add your butter from the fridge and with your fingertips, mix everything together until it comes to the consistency of corn meal. Mix your egg yolk and water together and add this to your flour and butter mixture. Mix this together until just combined and use a fold over technique to incorporate this. When the mixture looks like It’s just underworked, its perfect. When you roll this out to a thinner state it will work this together even more. Let this rest for up to 4-6 hours or overnight in the fridge. If you do let this rest overnight, make sure to bring the dough out to room temperature an hour or so before rolling. When rolling your dough, make sure to use a lightly floured working area so the dough does not stick. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness and size. If going into a pie shell, 3-4 cm is good. If you want to do a tart base, I would go a bit thicker to around ¼ of an inch. 


1 Large Potato
4 Pieces Bok Choy Chopped and Separated
1 Tablespoon Ginger Chopped 
2 Tablespoons Garlic Chopped 
1 Onion Chopped 
1 Stalk lemon grass 
2 Lime Zest and Juice 
2 Pieces Kaffir Lime Leaf 
3 Cups Spinach 
300ml Sake 
500ml 36% Cream  
400ml Whole Egg

Set your oven to 335F and place a pan inside with water which will be for your water bath. Make sure the other dish which you will be cooking your flan in fits inside this nicely. Take that dish and line it with parchment paper so it goes up the sides as well. This will help you remove your flan easily after it is cooled. Now, peel your potatoes, roughly chop them, and set them aside. Take your bok choy, separate the green tops and set aside. Now roughly chop your bok choy whites and prepare to cook them. In a pre-heated medium to high pan, sauté your onions, garlic, ginger, bok choy whites, lemongrass, and lime leaf until translucent. Now deglaze with your sake and let this reduce to half. Add your potatoes and cream and cook this until the potatoes are tender. When tender, place this mixture into a blender and start to puree. Slowly start to add your eggs one at a time to temper them into your hot liquid. When you are done, add your spinach in one shot, this will turn it very green. Strain your liquid through a chinois into you prepared dish and bake for 20-40 minutes depending on thickness. When your flan has a slight wiggle in the middle, take it out and let it rest at room temperature before serving. If you want to cut or portion this, it is best recommended to be cooled completely before doing so. 


Pickling Liquid
3 Cups Water 
2 Cups Rice Wine Vinegar 
1 Cup Sugar 
2 Cloves of Garlic 
1 Shallot Sliced 
3 Slices Ginger Root 
3 Pieces Star Anise 
1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed 
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed
1 Tablespoon Peppercorn 
1 Cinnamon Stick 
1 Piece Lemon Grass 
2 Pieces Fresh Bay Leaf 
2 Pieces Fresh Lime Leaf 
Salt to taste

1 Shallot 
1 Bok Choy 
3 Peeled Lychee 

Take all your ingredients and place them into a pot. Bring this up to a simmer and stir every few minutes to make sure the sugar dissolves and does not stick to the bottom of the pot. When pickling liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat off and let steep for 15-20 minutes. When done steeping, strain this through a strainer. Process your vegetables now. Peel the shallot and cut it in half, take the layers of and cut them into pedals. For the bok choy take the smaller leaves which are in the center of the vegetable, you will have to pull the layers off to get into the middle. For the lychee, you need to peel them and then remove the pit, cut these into 4 and place each item separately into a bowl. Bring your liquid back to a boil and pour it over your product which you want to pickle. Let this cool down to room temperature and then put them in the fridge for storage. You can store any left-over liquid in an airtight container and keep refrigerated until needed.


1-2 Litres Olive Oil 
1 Large Yukon Potato 
1 Artichoke 
2 Shallots 
10 Cloves Garlic 
1 Bunch Thyme 
2 Bay leaves 
1 Zest of Lemon 

Put your oil into a pot as well as the thyme, bay leaf, lemon zest and bring the temperature up to around 200-220F. Do not exceed this temperature at any time. Now process your vegetables. Peel the shallots and cut them in half. Peel your garlic and leave the cloves whole. For your potato, peel this and then dice them into 1inch cubes. For your artichoke you need to peel this, remove the heart and then you can either cook this whole or in half. I like to cook everything together, so the flavors have a chance to combined. You just need to make sure to remove them out when they are finished as they will all take different times to cook. If you would rather do them each separately, you can do so as well. To know your vegetables are finished, you should be able to put a small knife into them and it should remove with no resistance. For the best results you should let your vegetables cool in the oil and store them overnight as well. This will give time for your vegetables to absorb all the flavors. 


2 Eggplants (cut length wise and scored)
1 Tablespoon Ginger (minced) 
1 Tablespoon Garlic (minced) 
1 Tablespoon Lemongrass (minced) 
2 Zest and Juice of Lime 
1 Bunch Cilantro (roughly chopped) 
50ml Fish Sauce 
125ml Soy Sauce 
50ml Hoisin 
1 Tablespoon Sambal 
50ml Sesame Oil 
50ml Peanut Oil 

Take your eggplant cut it in ½ inch strips length wise and then score each side. When dealing with eggplant you want to remove as much water as possible. Traditionally they salt the eggplant and press this with a weight so the moisture comes out. In this application we are using the soy sauce for this, the moisture and water will extract out and the marinate will get absorbed into the eggplant. Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until just combined. Now toss this in a bowl with your eggplant and let it marinate for at least 1 hour. Now press your eggplant over a perforated tray so the liquid can drip out for up to an hour or even overnight if you wanted. The longer you press this, the better the results. To cook you can either roast these in the oven, use in a savory tart or flan. Can bread these and deep fry them as well for a different application. 


1-2 Litres Canola Oil 
1 Artichoke 
2 Shallots 
6 Cloves Garlic

Place your oil into a pot and bring this up to 300-315F. Now process your vegetables. Peel your artichoke and remove the heart, now slice this on a mandolin no more than a cm in thickness. Do the same thing to your shallots and your garlic. Fry each of these separately until golden brown, stirring the pot so your vegetables will evenly brown. Remove with a strainer and place onto a sheet tray lined with paper towel to absorb any access oil. Season with salt and let them dry till ready to use.


100ml Hoisin 
2 Egg Yolks 
200ml Canola Oil 
50ml Sesame oil 
2 Juice and zest of lime 
2 Cloves Garlic (minced) 
1 Tablespoon Ginger (minced) 
1 Tablespoon Cilantro (minced)

Put all your ingredients except for your oils into a food processor. Blend the ingredients until it turns into a paste. While running, slowly add your oils with a consistent stream. When finished check consistency, should be nice and thick. Fold your cilantro in with a spatula and finish with salt or more lime juice if need be. Set aside in the fridge until needed.


10 Whole Pieces Fresh Lychee 
100ml Sake 
1 Zest of Lime
60ml Juice of Lime 
2 Egg whites
1 Sheet @ 1g of Gelatin x 1 sheet @ 1g
Salt to Taste

Bloom your gelatin in a small amount of water and set aside. Take your lychee and clean them, remove the pit and peel and place them into a blender. Now add the rest of your ingredients as well as the bloomed gelatin into the blender. Blend this mixture until smooth and pass this through a chinois. Place the liquid into a Co2 canister and charge the canister with x 2 charges of Co2, shaking during and after each charge. Test your mixture to make sure it comes out and is stable. Keep refrigerated until needed.


Layer your tart base with roasted eggplant and cut into 4 equal pieces. Using a ruler cut pieces of your flan to match the size of your eggplant tart base. Very gently place the pieces of flan on top of the tart using a large offset spatula and place each layered piece on a large white plate. Arrange the confit, crispy and pickled vegetables on the top as well as on the plate beside the layered tart. Follow this with dots of hoisin aioli, at the very last minute using the isi cannister place 4-5 small dots of lychee foam and bring it all together with the Barnston Island micro greens to finish.

Justine Smith

Justine Black Box Dish

Eggplant and Pickled Bok Choy Tortellini with Potato Soup
Artichokes barigoule, crispy eggplant, pickled lychee, garlic and potato chips, roasted shallot
Serves 4


2 Small Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Clove Garlic
1 Small Onion
2 Cups Whipping Cream
1 Bay Leaf
Veg Stock to Adjust Consistency

Slice potatoes thinly on a mandolin and run under cold water to rinse the starch off. Thinly slice the onion and garlic and sweat on low heat in the butter until cooked through and has no colour. Drain the potatoes from the water and add to the pot with the onion and the garlic, then add the whipping cream and bay leaf to this as well. Simmer this mixture on low heat, stirring often to ensure the soup does not stick to the pot. Once the potatoes are cooked through puree all ingredients in a blender and pass through a fine sieve. Return the soup to a new clean pot, season and reserve off the heat until ready for plating. Use the veg stock to adjust consistency if too thick.


2 Small Eggplants
1 Small Onion
1 Clove Garlic
Pickled Bok Choy (see below)
Salt, Pepper and Fennel Pollen For Seasoning

Cut the small eggplants in half, score the flesh using a small knife to make cross hatches. Season heavily with salt and press scored side down on a wire rack for 30 minutes. The salt will draw out moisture from the eggplant and aid in the cooking process. Once cured, heat a small frying pan on high and sear the egg plants until golden brown, place the pan in the oven to cook through. Meanwhile dice one onion and a clove of garlic small and sweat until translucent in a small pan, reserve until ready to mix filling. Once cooked remove the eggplants from the oven, let cook slightly then scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a mixing bowl to mash up to a puree consistency with a fork. Dice the pickled bok choy quite small and fold into the eggplant puree along with the cooked onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and fennel pollen. Reserve in the fridge until ready to form tortellinis.

Pasta Dough
360 g OO Flour
5g Salt
100g Whole Eggs
90g Egg Yolks
6g Olive Oil

Measure out all ingredients before beginning. Place the OO flour and salt into a food processor and turn on high, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks and olive oil and stream into the food processor while on high. Let mix until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto the counter and press together until dough forms a ball. Once the ball is formed cover tightly in saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Once the dough is rested, divide into 3 equal pieces and roll out with a rolling pin until they are thin enough to fit through the pasta sheeter on the widest setting. Using a pasta machine, roll out the dough to 1/16” thickness. Using a round ring cutter punch out all the pasta into the same size circles, keeping what you are not working with covered under a kitchen towel. Work with 10 circles at a time, scoop a teaspoon amount of filling into the center of each circle. Lightly wet half the circle with water using a pastry brush or your finger. Fold the circle in half and gently press together the edges forming a semi-circle. Push your thumb gently into the filling center to form a dimple. Bring the corners together in front of the dimple using a touch of water as your glue to hold them together. Store on a parchment lined baking sheet coated with semolina until ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a simmer. Drop tortellini into the water and move gently with a metal spider to ensure the pastas do not stick together. After 4-5 minutes the pasta should still be al dente and the filling should be hot inside. Remove into a large pan with melted butter. The butter along with the pasta water that comes with the tortellini will form a glaze.


2 Large Artichokes 
1 Small Onion
1 Small Carrot
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Clove Garlic
2L Vegetable Stock
200ml White Wine

Cooking the Artichoke
Clean your artichoke and hold in lemon water until ready to cook. In a medium pot roast your large diced onion, carrot, celery and garlic on high until golden brown. Deglaze the pot with white wine and reduce by half then add the vegetable stock. Add the cleaned artichoke and place the pot on medium low heat keeping the cooking liquid just below a simmer until the artichoke Is cooked through but still tender and holds it shape. Let cool in the liquid and then cut into preferable serving shape.

Making the barigoule
After removing the artichoke, strain the cooking vegetables away from the cooking liquid into another container. Pick out the onions and the carrots, place into a blender and discard the rest of the vegetables. Puree the carrots and onions adding cooking liquid little by little to reach a thin puree consistency. Pass this through a fine sieve (you can keep the left-over coking liquid in the fridge and use as veg stock or broth.) Use this finished barigoule liquid to heat and glaze your artichoke pieces before serving. 


2 Shallots
1 Bay Leaf
Oil for Cooking

Heat a frying pan on high heat, once hot place the shallots, cut in half, cut side down in the oil and sear until dark golden brown, place pan in a 350° oven until cooked through. Remove from pan and cool seared side up. Separate shallots into petals, reserve at room temperature until ready for plating.


2 Heads of Bok Choy
300ml Water
200ml Apple Cider Vinegar
100ml Sugar

Bring pickling liquid to a boil and place in the fridge to cool. Once chilled pour over bok choy and let sit for 20 minutes up to overnight before serving. Use on head for the tortellini filling and one head for garnish on the plate. 


2 Peeled and Slivered Lychee
300ml Water
200ml Apple Cider Vinegar
100ml Sugar

Bring pickling liquid to a boil and place in the fridge to cool. Once chilled pour over lychee slivers and let sit for 20 minutes up to overnight before serving. Before plating take half of the lychee slivers and finely dice these, finely dice the stems of two pickled bok choy pieces and mix, seasoning with salt and lemon zest. Reserve for plating.


1 Small Eggplant

Slice the whole eggplant thinly on a mandolin. Place onto a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place another baking sheet directly on top of the seasoned eggplant and place in a 325° oven for 10-15 minutes checking often to catch them when they are dark golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and reserve for plating.


2 Small Potatoes
Oil for Frying
Salt for Seasoning
Espelette Pepper for Seasoning

Place a medium sized pot of oil on the stove and slowly bring up to 300°, make sure there is room in your pot for the oil to expand as it heats up and you fry your chips. Slice the whole potatoes thinly on a mandolin and place in a container under running water to rinse the starch. When ready to fry, pat the potato slices dry between two sheets of kitchen towel. Fry in small batches being sure not to overcrowd your pot and stirring frequently to encourage even cooking. Once golden-brown remove from the oil using a small spider or strainer and place on a fresh sheet of kitchen towel to cool. Season with salt and espelette pepper. Let cool and harden before serving, store in air-tight container until ready to use if making in advance.


3 Cloves of Garlic
Oil for Frying

Place a medium sized pot of oil on the stove and slowly bring up to 300°, make sure there is room in your pot for the oil to expand as it heats up and you fry your chips. slice the whole clove on a mandolin then fry in small batches being sure not to overcrowd your pot and stirring frequently to encourage even cooking. Once golden-brown remove from the oil using a small spider or strainer and place on a fresh sheet of kitchen towel to cool, season with salt. Let cool and harden before serving, store in air-tight container until ready to use if making in advance.


In four bowls place 3 tortellini’s in each followed by 2 pieces of artichokes coated in the barigoule sauce. On top and around the tortellini arrange the pickled bok choy, pickled lychee and brunoised lychee and bokchoy. Next separate the roasted shallots into petals and place 2-3 on each plate. Arrange the crispy garlic, potatoes and eggplant on top as garnish and bring it all together with the Barnston Island microgreens. Heat the potato soup and place into a jug for pouring into each bowl tableside when ready to eat. Enjoy!

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