Asparagus Velouté, Fresh Goat Cheese, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb pencil green asparagus, cut in half lengthwise
½ small white onion, peeled and finely chopped
Pepper, freshly ground
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh baby spinach, tightly packed
4 tsp chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz soft young goat cheese
Pepper, coarsely cracked
3 fl. oz heavy cream
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
Fleur de sel, preferably from Guerande, Brittany
For the velouté: Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, about 2 minutes. Put ¼ cup of the asparagus in a small bowl and set aside in a refrigerator until ready to serve. Put remaining asparagus and onions in pot, reduce heat to medium low, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes. Add spinach leaves and simmer 2 more minutes.
Puree soup until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a metal bowl and place bowl in an ice bath to cool puree.
Fold chives and oil into goat cheese and season with cracked pepper. Set aside.
To serve, bring velouté back to a boil over medium heat, and add cream and butter, whisking until butter melts. Season to taste.
Pour soup into bowls, put 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese in the center of each bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the asparagus, drizzle with olive oil, and season with fleur de sel.
Slow-cooked Salmon Filet, tomato petal, Riviera garnish
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 skinless salmon filets, 5-6 ounces each
Fleur de sel
6 large vine-ripened tomatoes
2 tbsp. butter
4 half-inch thick slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into ¼-inch cubes
24 olives, taggiasca or kalamata, pitted
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp pine nuts
fresh black pepper, coarsely ground
Preheat oven to 250°. Grease a 10X14 inch ceramic dish with 1 tbsp olive oil. Put filets, skinned side down, in dish and season both sides with fleur de sel. Cook until salmon registers 110°, 20-25 minutes.
With a paring knife, remove the cores from the tomatoes and make an X on the opposite side. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water over high heat until skins just start to peel back slightly, 15-30 seconds. Transfer to an ice bath to cool; peel and cut each tomato in quarters lengthwise. Put a tomato wedge on a work surface, seed side up, and starting at the top, cut out the seeds, following the curve of the tomato wall. Discard seeds and place tomato petal on a clean towel or paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining wedges.
With a paring knife, cut the tops and bottoms off the lemons and set upright on a cutting board. Following the curve of the lemons, cut off the skin and pith. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to remove the segments; remove seeds and squeeze the membrane to remove any extra juice. Keep juice and segments together until ready to use.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread and sauté until golden borwn. Reserve on a paper towel.
Wipe out the pan and heat 2 tbsp. of the oil over high heat. Spread petals out on a plate. Lower the heat to medium and add remaining oil, olives, capers, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and segments. Adjust seasonings.
To serve, divide sauce, then the tomatoes, evenly between 4 warm plates. Top with a piece of fish. Sprinkle with croutons and serve immediately.
Chicken breast filet and morels in light cream
5 tsp white-wine vinegar
1 lb fresh morel mushrooms, steamed and halved lengthwise
3 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup dry Manzanilla sherry
2 c chicken stock
4 chicken breast halves on bone, skin on
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper, freshly ground
2 cloves garlic
1 large sprig thyme
2 tbsp heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form
Put vinegar in a large bowl of warm water. Add morels and swish around with hands. Lift morels out by the handful, allowing debris to remain behind. Transfer to a colander to drain. Wash 3 more times, without additional vinegar, until no dirt remains in water. Drain morels and spread on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry with another towel.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium heavy pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sweat until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add morels, a pinch of salt, and sherry, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until resulting liquid just glazes the bottom of the pan, 6-8 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook until it thickens, about 20 minutes.
While morels are cooking, remove bones from breast halves and discard. melt remaining butter in oil in a large heavy pan over medium heat. Pat chicken dry and season both sides.