Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Day to Practice

Election Day!! Chef released us early due to his concerns about us getting caught in the excitement of people leaving Grant Park. He kept us updated on the election results during lecture from his laptop, but soon into cooking, it became very clear who was going to win. The city was so quiet when I left - I could clearly hear a speech being given in Grant Park, and my school is almost a mile away. I have never heard the city so quiet. And it wasn't eerie, but completely beautiful. Just peaceful.

This night we made Bouillabaisse, which is a country fish stew. Someone else made the fish stock for the class, which is the base to this soup.
Heat olive oil and gently sweat leeks until they turn translucent. Don't let them brown. Add chopped tomato, saffron, Pernod, and 10 oz fish stock. Simmer until tomatoes have softened, then season with salt and pepper. Add all fish (we used trout, cut in large chunks, halibut, cut in large chunks, shrip, and mussels) and simmer covered until mussels open. Do not let soup boil or fish will fall apart. Take out fish, and stir in rouille (see next). Place fish in vowl and ladle broth over. Garnish with grilled baguette slices.
Process a roasted and seeded red pepper, a quarter of a jalepeno, one clove of garlic, salt, and one baguette slice with no crust. Puree. Transfer to bowl and work in olive oil with wooden spoon.

We didn't plate this, so you know I just snacked on the baguette slices all night...

Moules Marinieres

Sweat shallots, then put mussels in pan, coating with butter and shallot. Deglaze with white wine, cover with another saute pan, cook 2-3 minutes over high heat. Reduce wine by half with top off. Add 2 oz heavy cream, reduce by half. Monte au beurre. Season with parsley, and toss to coat.

For this assignment, Chef told us to work on other tasks, and then he would yell out this dish and we would have 5 minutes to cook and plate it. Stressful, yes? Mine tasted okay, but I had reduced the sauce too much.

Coquilles St Jacques, Beurre Blanc au Curry

Dry scallops and season well, then coat with spice blend (I used Master's curry blend). When oil begins to smoke, add scallops and then sear both sides. Remove and reserve.
Add shallots and sweat, deglaze with wine and white wine vinegar and reduce to au sec. Add cream, curry powder, and tomato paste, and reduce until nappe. Monte au beurre. Strain and adjust seasoning.

Lessons Learned:
Alright. I admit it. Plating matters. That scallop looks much more appetizing when plated like this than if I had just thrown it together. Fine. I guess the chefs win.

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