Monday, July 16, 2007

A Tasting Lunch

Today I did a mini "tasting" lunch. I made two dishes -- an avocado and crab "ravioli" (inspired by Clement at A La Cuisine), and a parmesan crisp filled with a chicken and red wine pate.

Avocado and Crab (Ravioli)

This is a very simply, very flavorful dish. To make the filling, I used the following:

4 oz lump crab meat
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp black pepper

I then sliced the avocado using a mandolin. I found it was easier to leave the skin on the avocado as it is sliced, and then simply remove it from the cut pieces. You can use thinner slices then I did (and next time I may do that).

Parmesan Crisp with Chicken and Wine Pate

For this dish, I used the Parmesan Crisp recipe from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook. The recipe is simple -- take grated parmesan (from a fresh, moist piece), form rounds, and bake at 325 degrees. Here's where I had a problem with Keller's recipe. According to Keller, when the crisps are ready, if you want to make little cups out of them, you should let them cool for 30 seconds and then press into an egg carton. I tried this with the first batch and within 15 seconds, the crisps were to stiff to mold. So what I ended up having to do was this: as the crisps finish cooking, I removed them one at a time from the oven and immediately pressed them into rounds.

The pate was simple:

Cook 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast in
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves of garlic (peeled only -- don't chop)

Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup red wine

Throw it all into a food processor and add 2 tsp black pepper

While the pate is fairly dry, because the crisps are porous I rested the pate in a cheesecloth until I was ready to serve. For serving, I placed one flat crisp on the plate, placed a crisp cup on top, filled with the pate. I then reduced some red wine (in the same pan I cooked the chicken in) and spooned that onto the plate.

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