Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kick it up a notch...for next to nowt.

What does one do when one has an appetite for something expensive, but on inspecting one's wallet it contains nothing but some dog-eared and pissy singles?

If you're like me, your palate needs regular therapy in the form of lobster, fine wines, caviar, antique brandies and general frippery. If you're like me, you've recently been sitting around in the garden drinking martinis and reading the mouthwatering "Ma Gastronomie" by Fernand Point. If you're like me, after reading something as seductive as that, you'll be fired up and desperate to dash out, spend $3K on finery and lock yourself in the kitchen for a week. If you're like me, that's going to be an issue. Monsieur Point recommends spending everything you have on the best ingredients you can find. Well I wish I could. Perhaps he didn't have to worry about rent, credit cards, bills. Alas I do, but I still wanted to do something that my gob would approve of.

A wander around D'Vine Taste on 7th Ave in Park Slope yielded some good Manchego (I'm having a phase with that stuff) a tiny sliver of an astonishingly rich foie gras terrine, and a small pot of truffle butter. I also found some delicious Bell Evans Cornish hens in my local butcher, and I was set to go. With FP's 'le grand cuisine' in mind and an oversized glass of chilled Bandol in my hand I set about creating something that would knock my knickers off.

I removed the legs and breasts from the 2 birds first, these would be my main meats, and I thought I'd make some good stock with what was left. I threw the meat in the fridge, got the big boy out and hacked all the bones and wings into smaller pieces. These were rolled in a bit of oil and chucked into a hot oven with carrot, celery and onion until they took on some nice colour. All this was transferred to a large pan, covered in cold water and I added some peppercorns and a bay leaf. It simmered gently for about an hour, I skimmed regularly, and then strained it through a fine sieve and some muslin. The stock had a great colour.

With my house smelling sufficiently nice now, I got stuck into the fun bit. I poached the legs gently in the stock for about 20 minutes. (That stock you still have is GOLD, get it in the fridge quick.) I skinned the legs and blitzed the meat in the Cuisinart, not until it was a paste, I wanted some texture. I mixed the meat with the room temp foie gras terrine, a good knob of the truffle butter and I didn't hold back with the stuff. I could have eaten the mixture by the large spoonful. I dressed some frisee and salad leaves with cream, S&P and red wine vinegar and arranged them in the middle of a large plate. I had some canola oil in a non-stick over a high heat, seasoned the breast meat and got some nice colour on both sides, before letting the meat rest for a bit. I dolloped a large quantity of the meat/foie/truffle butter mixture onto the leaves and draped over the breasts.

I don't even know if it was a salad, or an appetizer type course. I do know it was delicious and worth every bit of effort I put in messing around with stock and poaching legs etc. I could have just stuffed the bird with foie gras, roast the little bugger and dribbled the butter on top. All the flavours married well, and yet I was able to discern their individual contributions to the party in my mouth.

You should give it a go. Be as generous as you like with the posh tackle. I reckon a portion for one costs about $8. Not bad for a dish containing truffles and foie gras eh?

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin