Between seasons. Nothing drives me more crazy than being between seasons.
Working in a local, seasonally driven restaurant is great--I get to use the most amazing ingredients, and its great actually knowing the people that grow your food. But its not without its quirks. For starters, say you're ordering gorgeous, FULLY ripe, organic tomatoes from a very, very small family farm. You're selling thirty orders a night of said tomatoes. Then, very suddenly, they're gone. All he can offer you are under-ripe apples, or some boutique vegetable the farmer grows as a cover crop.
This can make things interesting. Especially when you go to make a particular sauce, and realize the produce you had been using has suddenly gone south, or isn't available at all.
When we started working on this new set-up, we had a few options available. The apples I had been using were nice, but boredom (and synerysis in my apple puree) started to get the better of me. I had recently picked up some great hibiscus, but integrating that component was going to require a bit of trial and error. A few months back we had discussed a spiced french toast to go with the foie gras...and having a flat of beautiful, almost gushing Frog Hollow pears on hand, we went with the following:
This time we're using this rectangle plate. It has these weird little handles on either end.
The sauce is pear/cardomom. The pears we're using are comice.
9 Pears, peeled, diced
120g Plugra butter
10 Cardomom pods
Lightly brown butter with cardomom.
Add pears, satee until soft.
Remove pods, puree and sieve. This recipe is simple, and almost bulletproof. The grit of the pears really comes through.
Add grated tonka bean and minus 8 vinegar...the vinegar is an agar fluid gel.
The foie is cut into a bar. Pear is minced to order (skin on) and quenelled. The bar cut can be a pain in the ass at pick-up, but is visually striking. Thanks Corey Lee.
French toast is added. There's no sugar in the batter.
4 Farm eggs
1.5 Cups Whole Milk
1 Tonka Bean, Grated
1 Cardomom Pod, Grated
Whisk, strain, and keep chilled. We cut the brioche into a cylinder, and give it a two minute soak. It gets sauteed in butter on low heat, and finished in the oven.
I got this maple powder from the guys at Le Sanctuaire recently. I sieved it and it became really fluffy. Its adds a nice, complex raw sugar texture.
Micro basil is the final garnish.
Admittedly, I hated this plate-up when we started it...then it started to sell. Even now, the dish continues to evolve.