This holiday season, cook with all the flair and originality of a great chef with this menu prepared for French Morning by culinary stars Phillipe Bertineau (Benoit), David Bouley (Bouley Restaurant) and Francois Payard. Bon appêtit!
Maine Lobster Salad with Quinoa, Butternut Squash, Carrots & Herbs by Executive Chef Philippe Bertineau
2 lobsters 1 ¼ lb. each
2 cups golden quinoa
2 bay leaves
½ head garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Herbs: chervil, chives, parsley, tarragon
1 small butternut squash
Mixed greens (mache, frisée, baby red oak, and lolla rossa)
Lemon Dressing :
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt & freshly ground white pepper
Lobster : Steam or boil the lobsters for 6 minutes. Separate the tail and claws from the head, and reserve the cooked head for a soup, bisque, or stock. With a pair of scissors, cut the shells to extract the lobster meat. Gently wash the claws, cut the tail in half lengthwise and remove the vein. Reserve the lobster meat in the refrigerator.
For the Quinoa : In a small stockpot, over medium heat, sweat the quinoa for 2 minutes in olive oil with the entire 1/2 head of garlic and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover with parchment paper and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Season lightly and remove garlic and bay leaves. Let cool and refrigerate until needed.
For the Lemon Dressing : Together in a mixing bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil until emulsified.
For the carrot, butternut squash, herbs and salad : Prepare the confit lemon: place a lemon in aluminum foil with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook in oven at 350°F for an hour and a half (until very soft). Gently chop the fresh herbs. Wash, dry and cut the greens into bite-size pieces. Wash, peel and dice the carrot and butternut squash into ¼ inch pieces. Sauté carrot and butternut squash separately in butter, a splash of vegetable stock, salt and pepper, and a crushed garlic clove. When the confit lemon is ready, remove skin and cut it in very small dices, discarding the pulp.
Assembly: Cut the lobster meat into bite size pieces. In a salad bowl, combine the quinoa, some of the herbs, the carrots, butternut squash, confit lemon skin and chopped lobster and mix. Season with lemon dressing, salt and pepper. Using a ring mold, place the mixture in the center of the serving plate.In a second salad bowl, mix the lobster pieces, the remaining herbs, lemon dressing all together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place lobster pieces on top of quinoa mixture in ring mold.Gently season the lettuces and place on top to garnish dish.
Chicken “en cocotte” by Executive Chef David Bouley
The chef’s way of preparing this dish is ingenious: David Bouley pot-roasts the chicken on aromatic hay in oven, a method he learned from the legendary French chef Roger Vergé who cooked on a bed of lavender. For home cooks, dried chamomile flowers – loose or in tea bags –substitutes nicely for the hay. Before baking, Bouley seals chicken inside a pot using homemade bread dough, a very old French technique. Store-bought pizza dough, used here, is an easy and tasty substitute.
20 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp. chamomile flowers, or the contents of 4 chamomile tea bags
3 ½ – pound chicken, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ pounds fresh or thawed pizza dough
1 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
½ cup veal demiglace mixed with ½ cup of water
Method: Preheat oven to 375F. Spread thyme, bay leaves and chamomile in the bottom of a large, deep, enameled cast-iron casserole dish. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and set it directly on the aromatics. Rub the top of the bird with 3 tablespoons of the butter.
Roll the pizza dough into a rope that is long enough to encircle the casserole. Press the dough onto the rim of the casserole and cover with the lid, pressing it into the dough. Pinch the dough up onto the lid slightly to seal the pot completely. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the lid, cracking the dough, and pierce the thigh to make sure the bird is cooked through. Replace the lid and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 5 minutes; discard the garlic. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the demiglace mixture and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and strain the pan juices into a measuring cup. Skim the fat from the juices and discard. Remove the chicken skin and slice the breast meat. Cut off the legs, cutting each into two pieces. Arrange the chicken on the platter, serve with chunks of the baked pizza dough for dipping.
Chocolate Pecan Tart by François Payard (included in Chocolate Epiphany, Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone, Clarkson Potter, New York, 2007
Makes one 9-inch tart that serves 10
1 ½ cups pecan halves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Vegetable cooking spray
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
1 stick plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (50 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 (one) 9-inch tart shell made from Sweet Tart Dough, unbaked
Method: Make the pecans: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the pecans in a bowl. Generously spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Place ¼ cup water and the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and immediately pour over the pecans. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, then pour it onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes until the pecans are candied and golden brown. Check the pecans every 5 minutes, as they can turn from golden brown to burnt very rapidly. Remove from the oven, and lower the heat to 350°F if you plan on baking the tart immediately. For the filling, combine the flour, corn syrup, sugar and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until everything is well combined. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is smooth, then add the melted butter and mix until it is incorporated. Remove from the mixer. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days
Assemble the tart: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the candied pecans and chocolate chips in the prepared tart shell. Pour the filling over the nuts and chocolate, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the tart shell is golden and the filling is set but still soft in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside to cool completely before serving.