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What Manton Learned at Culinary School Today - Page 33

post #481 of 618
a great quote from the always wonderful edouard de pomiane, about bouef en ficelle: "When the meat is almost ready, prepare a hot dish and some watercress and see that your salt mill is ready on the table. Lift the beef from the saucepan and remove the string. The meat is gray outside and not very appetising. At this moment, you may feel a little depressed. But don't worry. Take a very sharp knife and slice into the beef. Inside, it is rosy and tender and the gravy pours into your plate. No roast could be quite like this. Give each of your guests a thick slice of meat, some watercress and a piece of French bread. A couple of turns with the salt mill and you are ready to eat."
post #482 of 618
A # of yrs ago my wife & I were invited to a dinner party of some friends, one of whom is a very good cook. I forget what was served, but up until the entree everyting was just delicious. Then I heard that next up was a poached filet of beef. Then I caught a glimpse of the grey log and my heart sank . A few flashes of the knife and things started to look up as the beautifully colored thick slices were served up (the host should hve made sure his masterpiece remained unseen untill sliced: remember, the first taste is with the eyes!). Now that you mention it there may have been watercress involved, although I seem to remember baby bokchoy. Then came the taste - I swore that I would never prepare a filet any other way - fantastico!
post #483 of 618
Thread Starter 
Damnit, now you make me wish we had done it.

If we have a whole tenderloin again next week I am going to ask that we cut off the thin end and poach it.
post #484 of 618
This thread is making me very hungry. All I can think about is the pleasure of classically made sauces.

Thanks for the pics and narrative, Manton.
post #485 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Damnit, now you make me wish we had done it.

If we have a whole tenderloin again next week I am going to ask that we cut off the thin end and poach it.

Well, I might have exaggerating a little, but it was very good. Not a "hmmm, that's not-so-bad/ actually-pretty-good (compared to how it looks)" kind of good, but a genuine "wow, that's really tasty" kind of good. A few crystals of fleur de sel really brought out the falvor....
post #486 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by romafan View Post
Well, I might have exaggerating a little, but it was very good. Not a "hmmm, that's not-so-bad/ actually-pretty-good (compared to how it looks)" kind of good, but a genuine "wow, that's really tasty" kind of good. A few crystals of fleur de sel really brought out the falvor....

agreed. don't expect this to light everything up. it's subtle but delicious. and it's the coarse salt that really makes it work ... of course, if one wanted a bigger taste, one could just cover it with melted cheese.
post #487 of 618
Thread Starter 
Today we did the other two courses, the fish and the desert.

First thing, as ever, was to get our sauces on the fire. For the fish, this was a port wine and balsamic reduction. The wine went in first (it was a liter of each) with some bay leaves, the stems from the mushrooms that we served with the fish, and some thyme. Chef also suggested peppercorns and coriander seeds. This gets reduced by half before the vinegar goes in, then by half or more again. It is quite syrupy when done.

For the dessert, the reduction was red wine (very cheap "Burgundy"), sugar, star anise, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean (after the insides were scraped out for another use), plus the juices and zests of two oranges and one lemon. Everything but the sugar we added as an ad lib. I think it helped give the sauce some complexity.

For the fish, we stemmed and sliced a bunch of mushrooms. I suppose you could use any combination, but we had cremini, shitake and (my favorite) chanterelles. Equal parts (as I recall, 120g each). These get sautéed separately since they cook at different rates. Also, add one smashed garlic clove and one thyme sprig to each pan. Sauté in a little butter on medium heat until the mushrooms start to brown and their liquid starts to come out. Then add ciseler of shallot. This was the reverse order that I would have done it but Chef thought the shallots would be overcooked otherwise. Then cook until the shallots are soft and the mushroom liquid is gone. Remove garlic and thyme, season, combine and set aside.

The fish was red snapper. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of a whole one. They are handsome looking beasts. Anyway, I did a decent job filleting them.



They were seasoned with S&P plus this Chinese five spice combination. I think we underseasoned both the fish and the mushrooms, but I am getting ahead of myself. The fillets are cooked purely in oil in a pan. Get the oil very, very hot, lay the fish down skin side down away from you (to prevent getting splashed by hot oil) then press down with your spatula. The fish tends to curl and you want the entire skin side to make contact with the pan. Do that for about a minute. By then it should be flat. Turn down the heat. Wait several minutes until you see the fish get white along the sides. Just as the white starts to creep toward the middle, the outer edges should start to look brown. Flip the fish and off heat. It will cook through just sitting there in the pan as the pan cools. You don't want much heat on the flesh side.



The fish, obviously, is on the lower right. The sauce is lower left, the mushrooms above the sauce. The other pan has radishes for the beef dish.

Meanwhile, warm the mushrooms in a pan (you don't need any additional butter or anything) and correct seasoning (I wish we had done that). Heat the sauce in a pan and add a generous heap of butter. The sauce without the butter is super tart. The butter smooths it out and brings out the sweetness.

Then to plate we put the mushrooms in a little pile in the center of the plate, put the fish on top of that skin side up, and then drizzle some sauce in a ring, plus a little onto the fish. Finish with chives.



Perfectly cooked though (I thought) both fish and mushrooms were under seasoned. The sauce is one of the best things I have ever made.

I also want to note (mostly so that I don't forget) that the other guys who did the shrimp fritters made them differently. First, they put chili sauce into the shrimp mixture. Second, we did not have the Moroccan spice mix. Third (and this I thought was genius), the added the shrimp shells to the dipping sauce. It tasted different than when we did it, better I think.

For the dessert, it was poached pears and mascarpone mousse. The pears are peeled and cored and cooked in the wine sauce. This was different than last week, when they were merely steeped in the wine but not literally cooked in it. I though the cooking method was better. We cooked them in the wine mixture until they were tender to a paring knife, then removed them and reduced the wine liquid to a syrup (I think we over-reduced, as you shall see).

The mousse was made with mascarpone (a soft cheese) flavored with the scrapings of vanilla beans, and then folded into a merengue (egg whites and sugar beaten until stiff). My arms got a workout with the balloon whisk. I then put it into a pastry bag (we did not do this last time) with a small star tip and put it in the fridge.

The little cups are made from fillo dough. Once again, a product I had never heard of. It's super thin sheets of pastry dough, as thin as parchment paper and much more delicate. You can tear this stuff with the slightest touch.

To make the cups, you lay out a sheet of fillo, taking care to cover the remaining sheets with damp towels otherwise they will dry out. Then brush the sheet you are using with melted butter"”the whole sheet. Sprinkle with sugar (required) and cinnamon (optional). Repeat two or three times. Last week they made a three layer fillo, I did four. Chef said you could go up to five.

Then you have a sheet pan with some upside down aluminum cups on it. Cut the fillo into large circles and mold them around the cups one at a time. Bake until crisp and golden (10-15 minutes).

To plate, fill the cups with mousse. Slice the pears any way you want (we tried to make little fans) and place next to the cups. Drizzle with sauce. The sauce was much too thick as you can see. But the whole thing was delicious.



One last thing. I mentioned that the recipe in our books is poached filet, but no one wanted to do that. Last week we roasted it whole, this week we cut it up and grilled it (or really grilled it to get the marks, then finished it in the oven). But we took one piece and poached it, mostly to satisfy my curiosity.

Now the correct way to do this is to make consommé, reserve some, poach the beef in some, and then plate the beef in a bowl with the unused liquid and some veg. First, we made consommé but did not really get it very clear (I did a much better job in the last class). Second, we didn't reserve any because we weren't going to make the full dish. I just wanted to see what poached beef tasted like.

Basically, we just cooked it gently in the (cloudy) consommé until it was done. Then sprinkle with sea salt. It was fine, but not great or memorable I don't think. I am not a big filet fan anyway.



The grilled ones were better. We didn't make the horseradish sauce this time since no one was that into it. Instead, the other guys made a brown mushroom sauce. This annoyed me because we already had mushrooms in the prior course. So I made a béarnaise. But then when I plated my filet, I forgot about it. However, I did eat the steak with the béarnaise, which was delicious.

post #488 of 618
Has the food aesthetic in your mind changed at all from this course? Do you think you will start serving dishes plated in a more modern manner at home? It all looks quite well done, and very clean. Especially the fish.
post #489 of 618
Thread Starter 
I still consider myself very bad at plating. I think that fish dish is the best I have ever done.

To be honest, I almost never try to "plate" unless I have guests. I hope I am getting better but who knows.

If I didn't feel like such an idiot doing it, I would take shots at restaurants for tips. It must be a fad to do that. At Stone Barns they actually had a warning on the menu not to use flash.

The best effect so far from this class is that I appreciate fish more than I ever have and that is a huge leap forward for me.
post #490 of 618
That fish looks fantastic! Congrats.
post #491 of 618
What are your thoughts on polyester toques?
post #492 of 618
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post
What are your thoughts on polyester toques?

Never thought about them, but my thoughts on you are that you are a total asshole/troll who adds nothing to the forum but detracts quite a bit.
post #493 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
I still consider myself very bad at plating. I think that fish dish is the best I have ever done.

To be honest, I almost never try to "plate" unless I have guests. I hope I am getting better but who knows.

If I didn't feel like such an idiot doing it, I would take shots at restaurants for tips. It must be a fad to do that. At Stone Barns they actually had a warning on the menu not to use flash.

The best effect so far from this class is that I appreciate fish more than I ever have and that is a huge leap forward for me.
I go back and forth on how I like food to look before I eat it. Still, the skill it takes to do the fish is not small, so no matter how shitty you think you are, you are getting pretty good.
post #494 of 618
I was mainly interested in the fabrics and styling of your raiment.
post #495 of 618
is that red snapper? Looks marvelous, well done.
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