Then, it was on to dinner.
My mom recently offered me a comic book illustrating spending a couple years in the kitchen at l’Arpege, Alain Passard’s famed restaurant in Paris.
You can find it at http://amzn.to/wEL20c but be warned, it’s in French.
Passard is supposed to be the vegetable whisperer and attempting to reproduce his recipes although possible is probably vain because he grows everything himself in his farms and has staff attending to the vegetables and fruits to perfect them. Needless to say that your/my usual supermarket or even Farmer’s Market doesn’t offer that quality.
I however felt courageous and took on two of his more accessible recipes.
The first one is simple and something he calls
- 1 carrot
- 1 turnip
- 1 fennel bulb
- 3-4 radishes
- 1/2 small red cabbage
- A little bunch of chives
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Paper
- 2 small Beets – The original recipe calls for a red beet, a golden beet and a black one. I just couldn’t find them so I stuck with red.
- Orleans Mustard – You will be challenged finding this here. On Passard’s advice, I replaced it by some Wasabi. Technically speaking, he said horseradish but oh well
Prepare a brunoise with all the vegetables and mix them in a bowl with 6 big spoons of olive oil.
Set the rice paper in water to prepare it. When ready, place the vegetable mix in the middle and roll it as tight as possible. Create “sushi’ by cutting several 1 inch sections.
Place them on a plate and put a small nut of Orleans mustard / horseradish / wasabi on top.
Prepare a mix of olive oil and spy sauce and pour a healthy amount on your “sushi”
In salted water, cook the unpeeled beets. When ready, peel them and cut moderately thin slices . Place the sliced on the mustard / horseradish / wasabi to make it stick.
This was so fresh, light and crispy, yet the crispiness was balanced by the rice paper smoothness. I will definitely prepare this again. The rolls I prepared were not tight enough, I’ll have to focus on that next time.
The second course was much more out there. Alain Passard calls it:
Red Beets with Purple Basil and Blackberry puree
- A bowl of fresh blackberries
- Soy Sauce
- A tbsp of salted butter
- Basil – preferably purple basil
- Fleur de sel
- 4 red beets
With a fork, puree the blackberries. Put them on the stove on very low heat for 15 minutes along with 4 branches of purple basil that you would have chopped beforehand. Add the butter and 2 big spoons of Soy Sauce (I have to warn you that I felt this was too salty so if I ever do it again, I might ease off on the soy sauce).
In salted water, cook the unpeeled beets for about 20 minutes. Let them cool down for 10 minutes then peel them.
You are now ready to plate. Place the blackberry puree as base in the plate then place the lukewarm beets on top. Throw in some Fleur de Sel and a little pepper. Then, with an espresso machine, prepare some milk froth and circle the blackberry puree with it.
I know that sounds a little crazy but it’s a very interesting recipe in terms of textures and colors. I can’t say that it was fantastic because it was a tad too salty but I will definitely give it another shot.
I’ll leave the adventure of the dessert to another post but at that point in the dinner, I had a happy birthday girl at the table. Oh, have I mentioned she loves beets?
<a href=”http://back40forums.com/tenant.php?blogid=7546″><!– prudish –></a>