A recipe from ‘MasterChef’ contestant Matt Houck

  • 33

Matt Houck of “MasterChef.” — photo by Michael Becker, courtesy of FOX.

Matthew Houck, Iowa City optometrist and current competitor on FOX’s MasterChef, has your dinner covered. Serves 4-5.

Marinated and grilled maitake mushrooms

  • 1-2 lbs maitake mushroom, cleaned and trimmed (or any large mushroom)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Combine all ingredients other than the mushrooms in a bowl, and mix until well incorporated. Add mushrooms to marinade, and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove mushrooms from marinade and shake off excess. Grill for about 5 minutes per side or until slightly crisp.

Potato-chive rosti

  • 8 medium-large waxy red potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic cloves
  • 5-8 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper

Place peeled potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat until potatoes are soft and cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Strain the potatoes and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, to cool for 1 hour.

Coarsely grate the chilled potatoes into a large bowl, and add the chives, garlic and thyme. Mix to combine and form into large 4-5-inch patties (about ⅛-¼-inch thick). Be careful not to mash the grated potatoes together.

In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed oil on medium-high heat until smoking. Add the patties to the oil and fry until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Flip and repeat for 8-10 more minutes. Remove from oil, immediately season with salt and pepper and drain with paper towels.

Butter-braised asparagus

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and peeled
  • 6-8 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tbsp thyme, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper

Place butter and asparagus in a large skillet and turn heat on to medium, trying to get the asparagus to lay in a single row. Cook asparagus for 3-4 minutes, rotate and cook for 3-4 more minutes until cooked through.

Remove from the butter and allow to drain. Drizzle lemon juice over asparagus and season with tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper.

Sorrel vinaigrette

  • ½ medium sweet onion, roughly diced
  • ½ cup English cucumber, sliced
  • 1½ cup packed sorrel, red sorrel or spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch of salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil on medium-low heat and add the onion. Slowly cook the onion for 10-15 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the onion and its cooking oil to a blender with the cucumber, sorrel, white wine vinegar and honey. Blend on high to fully combine all ingredients. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the remaining canola oil until desired consistency. Season with salt.


Photo by Matt Houck

Place a rosti down onto the plate and then the mushrooms on top of the rosti. Next, lay down the asparagus cut into 2-3-inch pieces over the mushrooms. Drizzle with a small amount of the vinaigrette and serve immediately. If available, garnish with red sorrel leaves and cilantro flowers for extra visual pop!

Watch Matt Houck (Instagram: @dinnerwithchefhouck) compete on “MasterChef” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. central time on FOX. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 245.

Curious what's happening this weekend? Sign up here to stay in the know.

  • 33

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.


Enjoy a tasting and drinks from the best chefs the area has to offer!

Presented by

Join us Saturday, February 15, 6 p.m.
@ Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.



America’s intimate festival experience featuring cutting-edge music, the Midwest’s premier indie book fair, and readings and community happenings across downtown Iowa City.