Thursday, September 16, 2010

Evolution of a new dish.

1) Take inventory of what you want to use.
  • In today's case I found myself with an abundance of delicious chicken thighs, quail eggs and arugula.
2) Come up with a plan to utilize your ingredients.
  • I wanted to braise the legs in red wine, onion and spices and serve it with ricotta gnocchi.
3) Prep the individual components of the dish.
  • Legs: Braised low and slow in the oven and turned out great.
  • Gnocchi: It was my first time doing this and they turned out to be crap. They were so dense that you could put it in a slingshot and go hunting.
4) Regroup, re-take inventory and come up with a plan B.
  • Today I saw I had some fusilli, so I decided to make my version of chicken noodle soup. I cooked the fusilli in the braising liquid, and them strained it off and then reduced the liquid. In both cases I was trying to develop deeper flavors.
5) Compose dish and taste.
  • When an order for the Chicken Thigh Soup comes in I first combine the par-cooked pasta, meat, braising liquid and arugula.
  • While the components heat and meld into one coherent layering of flavors, I gently fry a quails egg.
  • Once the soup has heated up I taste it and check for seasoning. This is when I will add salt, a little at a time tasting after each addition, until it tastes great.
  • After seasoned I transfer the soup to a bowl, top with the egg and grate over Parmesan cheese.
Today's G.I. Joe moment for me was, 'when plan A does not work, DO NOT FREAK OUT. Instead take a breath and calmly come up with a plan B.'

"Knowing is half the battle".

1 comment:

  1. Harrison,

    I've been following the blog for a while now. Congratulations on the restaurant, everything looks and sounds awesome (and very familiar). I opened a restaurant of my own in Providence, RI about 6 months ago. I also worked in the Bay Area for a few years before coming back to the East coast. Anyway, I just wanted to send along some encouraging words from someone who's going through the same process. It sounds like we have similar concepts that are somewhat new to the areas in which we respectively live. I hope everything is going well for you on a daily basis, I know some days it can seem like the whole world is crazy. I just want to cook, it shouldn't be this difficult.

    Keep up the good work.

    Nemo Bolin
    Cook & Brown Public House