Please excuse my while I try to unfry my brain. I have to switch up TWD and Top Chef with Teanna this week, as I didn't realize how time consuming this dish would be. So my tart will be posted tomorrow when my pastry cream is all nice and chilled.
This Top Chef recipe one was quite a doozy.
Yes. I said doozy. I can't think of any other words.
Not only was it is a doozy, but it is among my Top 5 Favorite Top Chef Recipes to date. Ah, Kevin Gillespie, you and your pig tattoo get me every time.
I have fallen back a bit on my Top Chef blogging, so please, let me give a short description about the episode. Natalie Portman, the vegetarian and totally adorable actress, was the guest judge. The episode was full of laughs and very uncomfortable innuendos about pricks and mouths and honestly, I had to leave the room because I was so uncomfortable... and I was watching this alone.
The chef's were cooking at Tom Colicchio's Craft Steakhouse. But here is the twist: Natalie is a vegetarian.
Dum, dum, duuuuuum.
Many chefs are known for their vigorous dislike of vegetarians. Don't even get them started on vegans. Anthony Bourdain once called vegans the "Hezbollah-like splinter factions of vegetarians" and said that vegetarians are "
He is never one to mince words, is he?
But I digress. On to the dish. This dish is composed of six components (is that redundant?) - braised mushrooms, sauteed mushrooms, roasted turnips, turnip puree, garlic syrup, a pistou, and sauteed kale. I am a bit worn out from lack of sleep these past few weeks, so I'm going to break it down for you the best I can.
I could not find hen of the woods or morels, so instead, I bought a dried pack of wild mushrooms. I know. I'm awful. But you know what, when seasoned and sauteed properly, you may probably never know the difference. At least I couldn't. I was pressed for time, and frankly, good produce is hard to come by in NYC so I take what I can get. These mushrooms were delicious. I didn't follow the recipe to the letter. I just threw them in a pan with the emulsified butter and oil, tossed them with some diced celery, seasoned well and added a bit of lemon and heavy cream. Heaven on a plate.
I was never one for liking turnips, but this is the second dish in which Kevin has proved me wrong on that point. The turnip puree was buttery, rich, and provided a wonderful textural contrast to the dish. The smells that wafted through the air while the sliced turnips were cooking butter while quartered turnips were roasting in butter was pure heaven. It could just be the butter, though.
The pistou was good, but be sure to season it well (as you should will all components of this dish. Use your judgement.). I could have done without it on the dish, but if you love the flavors of tarragon and parsley (which I do), it adds a nice lightness to an otherwise heavy dish.
The garlic syrup was fantastic. I have tried a different recipe for garlic syrup before this and it is nice to see the different ways in which you can make this fabulous accoutrement which adds so much flavor to any dish. One note: never stick your nose over a pot of boiling vinegar. You'll regret it.
The kale. Oooooh, the kale. I could eat this component of the dish for days and days. I am probably like most people who believe that kale can suck when it is not cooked properly. I know you are intimidated by my mature use of language, right there. It can be bitter and chewy and no one likes bitter and chewy. But this kale was the most amazing preparation of kale I have ever tried. I used liquid smoke (again, right up there with dried mushrooms. I apologize) and sauteed it in water with diced onion, garlic, I then added 1/2 teaspoon sugar and salt each to season it. Pure perfection. Again, I could not stop eating this.
Together, everything was outstanding. I can completely see why the judges not only picked this as the winner, but stated that they didn't even miss having a protein on the plate. This is a dish that would make me go veg in no time.
ToSorry, Anthony Bourdain.
Click here for the recipe. But again, this one is time consuming. It took me about 3 hours to make... but it was well worth the effort.