Mar 19, 2008

Unexpected Lunch : The Whole Process to the Menu

Carpaccio de boeuf,
tomates et mozzarella à l'huile de noix
Magret de canard Moulard,
pêche braisée et semoule israélienne
Crème basilic et sa brochette de fraises
Beef, tomato and mozzarella carpaccio
with walnut vinaigrette
Mullard breast duck, braised peach and Israel semolina
Basil cream with a strawberry skewer

So here is the whole process ending to the choice of those dishes.

For the appetizer, I remembered we had some filet mignon frozen, some slices I used the day before to prepare carpaccio and goat cheese cannelloni* for one coming cocktail next Monday. It is so much easier when you can use a professional slicer like this one to have perfect tomato, mozzarella and beef slices. Just before serving, I brushed each slice with a walnut oil, lemon oil and Modena balsamic solution, added some walnuts and sprinkled Italian parsley.

For the entree, I used a duck breast (magret) from Mullard (moulard) race, the Chef bought from D'Artagnan, famous French supplier in New York. The moulard is a crossbreed used in the production of foie gras. First of all, I crisscrossed the skin and started to saute it in a cold frying pan on low-medium heat, for about 15 min. The skin should be golden brown, not more!. Then, 1-2 min on the flesh side. You should also often defat the pan from duck oil.

TIP : to start with a cold pan allows the skin to be served crispy.
TIP : save it in a container for further use, e.g. sauteed potatoes...
For the semolina. I used Israeli Couscous , medium-large sized grain that I cooked with blond raisins and dried apricot cut in small julienne. For the braising of the peach, I couldn't find Schnapps so I used Grand Marnier instead. I cooked a skinned-off peach in caramel, white wine and Grand Marnier (plus peppercorn, orange zest stripe and coriander seeds). I strained the liquid and added some brown veal stock and reduced it to nearly a glaze. Very complex sweet and sour taste for this sauce.

For the dessert, I choose a numerous-time-awarded and praised delicatessen amongst friends and family, the famous Crème basilic. I served it with a slowly-cooked (in red wine and sugar) strawberry skewer (I used a dried vanilla bean as a pick) and decorated with a crystallized basil leaf.

TIP : crystallized basil leaf : blanch the leaf in water for 30s., sprinkle icing sugar, put on a silpad and dry out in a 100°C/200°F oven until dry.

I didn't get any felicitation but I felt great when I noticed all plates for every dish went back clean and empty! The kind of hint that might mean the guests enjoyed the food!

*Carpaccio and goat cheese cannelloni

Out of the subject here but I can't resist to write the procedure : cut beef in 1-2 mm slices (freeze the meat so that the slices will be perfect) and put each slice on a work surface covered with plastic wrap. Each slice should be put side by side to form a stripe. Then with a piping bag filled with soften goat cheese (you can mix it with shallot, herbs, pepper, ...), pipe a long "worm" shape in the stripe alongside. Then roll tight with the plastic to form a "cannelloni" and freeze it. Once hard, you will be able to cut it in 0.5 cm log. We can use them on top of a crustini (crouton in French) seasoned with lemon oil for example....

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