AN INSIDE LOOK
Finally, on May 17, 1993, after dreaming about it since I was a boy and years of hard work and planning, Daniel the restaurant opened for business. What a whirlwind the past twenty years have been! I am thrilled to finally bring you Daniel: My French Cuisine.
This is not an exhaustive and exhausting encyclopedia of French food. Often what we cook at Daniel is completely novel. But more often, it has a direct link to the past. In Daniel, I will share with you three types of cuisine: that of Restaurant Daniel, iconic French classics, and French regional dishes I make at home. At Restaurant Daniel, my amazing brigade and I constantly play with the French recipes of the past, which allows us to move forward and develop our own. We build on prior knowledge using technique as a foundation to develop new ideas, new textures, and new presentations, always with a lighter touch. Some of the recipes from Restaurant Daniel are composed of many parts. I didn’t want to keep any details from you by trying to make things simpler. You can decide how inspired you want to be: to make the whole recipe or just the main protein, or perhaps only the vegetable garnish. It’s up to you. Besides cooking à la carte and creating precise, artistic plates, I enjoy revisiting historic dishes that encompass tradition and celebration with grand and soulful presentations. In the iconic section of this book, I wish to share the foundations of what makes me a French chef.
Do you know that I live twenty feet above the restaurant? Do you know that my office, called the “skybox,” is a glass-enclosed den overlooking the kitchen? This is my home base, where I still move among the stations cooking, tasting, poking, and on occasion, teaching a young cook a trick I learned when I was seventeen. And as in the old French tradition, I still live above the “store,” which is why I also included a section on how I cook at home. You may want to try your hand at a few of my personal recipes—the kind of regional dishes I make for my friends and family. Join me on this journey to delicious fun!
I REVEL IN AMERICA’S GENERATIONS OF CHEFS AND CUSTOMERS whose vibrant enthusiasm and passion for food support culinary talent. By sharing ideas with the ever-changing pool of emerging young chefs from around the world, I am inspired. These young cooks may not need to practice classic French cuisine anymore, but they use it as their reference. They respect it, and they know its foundations.
My connection to food is human and humble. I am a chef with soul: an American chef with a French soul or a French chef with an American soul. I have both influences in me, and that’s what keeps me grounded.
In New York City, where I live, I constantly feel inspired by the bountiful markets and multiethnic culture, but deep down, I have remained quite French. In fact, I come from Lyon first, from France second. If I think back to my roots, I see a boy running around a farm, getting into trouble, helping his father sell vegetables at the market, and plunging his nose into his grandmother Francine’s pot of succulent soup. Certainly, I didn’t grow up around starched white tablecloths. At the Boulud farm the seasons ruled our table: We ate what we grew, when the time was ripe.
With the first money I made at age fourteen, peeling carrots and potatoes in the kitchen of Restaurant Nandron in Lyon, I bought two books: Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire and Gringoire and Saulnier’s Le Répertoire de La Cuisine. They may look like simple books, but they encapsulate what I still consider to be the code of French cuisine. It was the beginning of my now impressive cookbook collection. But trust me—at the time I couldn’t collect anything; I didn’t have a franc to my name!
Nandron, a famous Michelin two-star restaurant named for its chef/owner Gérard Nandron, sat almost across from Les Halles, the fabulous covered market where the country’s top ingredients converged daily. Inside you would find fruits, vegetables, fragrant herbs and spices, meats, and fish. But right outside the building, along the surrounding streets, teemed the tripe sellers, the charcutiers, the oyster bars and bouchons. It wasn’t Zola’s Le Ventre de Paris, but it was close. If we needed a bunch of watercress in the middle of service, I would run there to get one that had been pulled that very morning. From the pretty, blond lady fishmonger (a favorite with all the chefs) to the paunchy butcher and the baggy-eyed baker, these characters lived together, and the cheerful camaraderie they exhibited was very similar to what I try to build with my cooks every day at Daniel.
I remember at fourteen seeing Paul Bocuse leading the pack of great chefs at Les Halles, where he shopped every day, but he also came by the restaurant to have coffee with my boss, his friend Gérard Nandron. I looked up to him as a hero. Then one day Nandron and I were driving down along the Saône River on our way back from a catered event, and he asked me:
“So, kid, have you ever been to Bocuse’s Auberge?”
I hadn’t, of course, so he made a right turn over the bridge and off we went to the famous restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges. But we weren’t headed to the dining room; it was in the kitchen that everything happened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Nandron’s kitchen was fine, but Bocuse’s was the Rolls-Royce; silver platters, shiny copper pots, cooks and waiters working like finely tuned machinery everywhere. I sat on the side of a counter taking it all in while the two friends chatted. After a while Bocuse hailed a waiter:
“Hey, bring the kid something to drink!”
What they put in front of me wasn’t milk; it was a huge “communard” (Beaujolais and cassis liquor). There was no way I could say no, so little by little, I sipped my cocktail, getting drunker by the minute. And when the two elders were done, we drove back to the restaurant, where I tried to finish the dinner service, but everybody noticed how tipsy I was, and they gently sent me home. I slept well that night!
Maybe a year later, Bocuse needed cooks and called Nandron, who sent me as an extra apprentice. I showed up in the morning with sunglasses hanging on my shirt, and bumped into Bocuse in the entrance. “You’re from Nandron?” he asked. “Go back, get a haircut, and we don’t need sunglasses here!” At Bocuse, everybody had to follow the rules, so I left and got a crew cut!
Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-three, I worked my way through some of the best kitchens in France, propelled by my desire to learn and my hunger for new experiences and ingredients. I was always interested in cooking, but also in the entire operation of a restaurant, in how all the different parts (wine, flowers, design, service) interact with each other to create an “experience.” Then I moved on to Denmark, and then America. I saw Paul Bocuse regularly at events. He took me under his wing, and over the years we developed a close bond. Today I consider him my guiding shepherd, a spiritual father. His son Jérôme is one of my best friends, and I am the proud godfather to “Petit” Paul, Jérôme’s son. Now we’re family.
On the family farm.
At a garlic fair with my father (left).
At La Mere Blanc (on far right), 1975.
As chef at Le Cirque, 1986.
At Le Régence with Sottha Khunn, 1984.
Apprenticing at Nandron, 1970.
At Restaurant Daniel enjoying wine pairings from each of our birth years. From left: Julien (my father), Gilles (my brother), me, Celine (my niece), Marie (my mother).
Besides Paul Bocuse, I have been influenced and even mentored by the great chefs of the 1970s: Roger Vergé, Alain Chapel, the Troisgros brothers, Michel Guérard, Frédy Girardet, and Georges Blanc. Their cuisine, styles, and souls stayed with me and continue to inspire me.
FRENCH CUISINE WAS IN MY DNA, AND I CARRIED IT WITH ME across the Atlantic. When we first opened Daniel, everybody had an opinion about what I needed to do. We built the restaurant on a shoestring; no dream kitchen, but a good one. The goal was efficiency on a budget. But when we moved to the corner of 65th and Park, the historic spot previously occupied by Le Cirque, I felt both terrified and thrilled. I knew that such a restaurant was going to be “une maison pour la vie,” a home for life. With the new Daniel, I was taking not only a huge financial risk, but a personal risk as well. There, for the first time in my life, I built a dream kitchen, a station for each position, even a Bonnet stove. I was pinching myself. The whole team was exhilarated; we were all in it together, and I had the best possible partners—Joel Smilow and Lili Lynton—who allowed me to dream big.
Today my life revolves around my amazing team and our marvelous and faithful guests. Cooking is friendship, communication, and passion, not only for the ingredients, but also for the people who cultivate them. I love to walk through my kitchen and take in our mosaic of people, cultures, regions, and tastes.
Our dishes today are vibrant, modern, and alive almost, and they constantly evolve. On the other end of the spectrum, favorites such as the sea scallop “black tie,” created for the 1996/97 New Year’s Eve, have become true classics and need no updates. These creations join the repertoire of our classics at Daniel, and they speak to the diverse collection of talent.
Though French cuisine is based on rules and codes, I also practice what I call spontaneous cuisine. For many home cooks today, this is the new mantra. What did I find at the market today? What do we feel like tonight? Often purveyors push open the doors of my kitchen bearing rare treasures. Everything stops. The crew comes over to admire the new mushroom, see the live crabs, or taste an unknown spice. Excitement in the kitchen makes all eyes brighten with anticipation. How will we cook it? The energy kicks in.
Some recipes are spontaneous. They happen because an ingredient is making its short appearance on the seasonal market—think of the ovoli mushrooms with the loup de mer; but others are meant to become classics. I am as excited to work on a new dish as I am to revisit a classic. My famous paupiette of sea bass in crispy potato scales was taken off the menu and rethought, keeping the same ingredients, but in a new preparation every year at Daniel. But at Café Boulud, executive chef Gavin Kaysen insisted he wanted to bring back the original paupiette, and the diners love it!
At the James Beard Awards with my daughter, Alix (© Patrick McMullan.com).
The service team and chefs after a pre-meal meeting.
One morning the kitchen is exploding with spring. Chef de cuisine Eddy Leroux shows off his scary knife skills as he dices the thickest fresh Hawaiian heart of palm. I never saw that in France! Sous chef Roger Ma is on double morel duty as he fills morels the size of small volcanoes with a morel stuffing; every single part of the huge white asparagus from Provence is going into every dish we can possibly think of; the langoustines have landed and now they crawl in the tray, red and angry; at the garde-manger station, young men and women on their externship from culinary school are busy quartering spring onions, julienning carrots, and dicing radishes. It’s noon, and even though we’re not open for lunch, the kitchen is teeming with whites, toques focused down, watching the clock and praying they’ll get everything done before the curtain goes up with the first reservations at 5:30 p.m.
Below the dining room, in the crowded prep kitchen, the pace is getting frantic. Knives dive in and out, butchering whole animals; fish from Maine rest on cutting boards, awaiting their fate; and across the way, the pasta station is in gear, fingers pinching herb agnolottis. Next door in the pastry kitchen, Sandro Micheli, our creative pastry chef, puts the finishing touch on a passion fruit and mango parfait. My spoon darts in for a taste. Is it tangy enough? As I pass one of our assistant cooks from Mexico, I congratulate him on the fantastic cassoulet he cooked for everyone’s lunch yesterday. I enjoy seeing the young, eager faces of tomorrow’s great chefs as they work in our kitchen, learning what I hope will enable them to shine. They come from all over the world: There’s Chris from Germany, Maria from Peru, Pat from San Francisco, Laurence from Montreal, and Jean from Burkina Faso. Today they learn from us, but tomorrow they’ll be cooking the staff’s family meal and we’ll all learn from them!
I am thrilled to see so many cooks come to Daniel to learn the craft. Years ago, young people from all over the world went to the kitchens of France. Today they come to New York! On the wall, a poster reads “Keep calm, DB is in the house.” I smile and head back to work.
LAST YEAR A COUPLE CAME INTO THE KITCHEN AND TOLD ME about the life-changing moment they experienced years ago at Fernand Point’s famous La Pyramide (one of the first French restaurants to garner three stars from the Michelin Guide). They reminisced about the menu and the memorable bottle of Crozes-Hermitage. And this, for me, is the magic of French cuisine—the combination of great food, service, and wine—that makes an indelible impression on the senses, a meal that lasts a lifetime!
But back in New York City, our challenge is to translate traditional culinary experiences into modern recipes. With this book I want to share with you my own French cuisine: where it started and where it is today.
Jean François Bruel and Toto Ourzdine.
As a French chef in America who loves to bridge my past with the present, I am also influenced by the flavors of the countries I visit, by the cultures I encounter—from Istanbul to Singapore to New Orleans to Rio. Each trip uncovers treasures of culinary discoveries, and these often land in our New York kitchens—from the “Voyage” menu at Café Boulud to DBGB Kitchen and Bar and Boulud Sud.
OVER THE YEARS, I HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY FORTUNATE TO WORK with great teammates, friends really, who have shared so much with me. There was Sottha Khunn, who followed me from Le Régence at the Plaza Athénée New York to Le Cirque, where we worked together for eight tough but exciting years; Alex Lee, who started as a commis at Le Cirque and became my executive chef to open the first Daniel on 76th Street in 1993 (now Café Boulud).
Today our ensemble is led by Jean-François Bruel, a 2002 James Beard Rising Star Chef, with me for sixteen years and now, for the last decade executive chef at Daniel, supervising a team of forty chefs and cooks; Eddy Leroux, his right-hand man, chef de cuisine for the last eleven years; and Sébastien Mathieu, one of our excellent sous chefs, with me for five years.
Living together the way we do, night in and night out on such a scale, is a collaborative endeavor. We sit down and share ideas and experiences to create new dishes, but during service, ideas and techniques boil down to the precision of the finished dish in an exciting burst of pressure and adrenaline. I may be the guiding force, but everyone chimes in.
On the other side of the kitchen pass stands a loyal and disciplined service crew led by a general manager who hires, trains, and achieves the highest level of hospitality. I am particularly proud of the casual sophistication and discreet professionalism of our service team. Michael Lawrence, now our director of operations, was a masterful general manager. Today his protégé, Pierre Siue, who started as a runner at the ripe age of twenty-three and was promoted to GM only six years later, supervises a staff of sixty. He is a great motivator, and with the guests, his elegance and dedication are the benchmarks of his warm demeanor.
Often at Daniel, the staff not only feels like family; they are, in reality, family. The loyal Bernard Vrod, our dining room manager, has served seven American presidents and has worked with me for twenty-five years. His wife, Ginette, is the “gouvernante-in-chief,” attending to all housekeeping matters; his sister Cécile works in the coat check; his son Yannick is a maître d’; and his brother-in-law Giovanni a captain. It’s an extended Vrod clan on 65th Street! Another vital part of the restaurant, the stewarding department, is led by Toto Ourzdine, a true friend who has worked for me for the last twenty years.
We sit at the table, open a good bottle of wine, and start a vivid conversation. My love affair with wine and the vignerons is an integral part of who I am. Some of my dearest friends come from or work in the wine world. Thanks to them, I enjoy creating wonderful moments around exceptional bottles. Sharing wine with friends always makes it taste even better! Friends like Robert Parker challenge me to create lavish five-hour feasts with legendary wines and iconic dishes. In return, I challenged author/chef Bill Buford to come and cook some of these dishes with me. We had fun, and I hope you will enjoy reading his fabulous account of our time together.
After decades in the kitchen, I am happy to welcome you into our kitchen at Daniel to share our French cuisine. And by now, perhaps, you can see that the story of French cuisine is reflected in the story of my life. I want to cook for you and help you discover new tastes and new pleasures. And nearly every night, on Manhattan’s East 65th Street, you will find me at Restaurant Daniel, joyfully flowing from the stove to the dining room and back again.
At the Citymeals-on-Wheels gala with the team led by former executive chef Alex Lee, my daughter, Alix, and my five mentors—from left in suits: Gérard Nandron, Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc, Paul Bocuse, Michel Guérard.
Paul Bocuse sending a copper pot to decorate DBGB Kitchen and Bar.
With the Bocuse family—from left: Paul Bocuse, “Petit” Paul, Jérôme Bocuse, and me.
Toasting with Paul and Jérôme Bocuse in Orlando.
Paul Bocuse’s sixtieth birthday—standing, from left: me, Pierre Franey, Jacques Maximin, Alain Chapel, Roger Jaloux, Roger Vergé. Sitting: Barbara Kafka, Paul Bocuse.
A LETTER FROM
Mon Cher Daniel,
It is an honor to be asked to preface what is sure to become a reference for tomorrow’s chefs. Between us we share a long history—starting with your days as a young apprentice to my friend Gérard Nandron, where your talent and pugnaciousness did not escape me.
As luck would have it, we saw each other regularly in New York, where you worked for my good friend Roger Vergé at Le Polo, and where each culinary experience felt elegant and distinctive. I knew that one day you would come out of your shell, because to express yourself you just needed a nudge from destiny.
I enjoyed watching your progress at Le Cirque; always as impressive as your skills. A quiet young man with a combination of determination and simplicity, you invested yourself fully to reach the highest level of excellence.
And that is how your Restaurant Daniel, which now celebrates its twentieth anniversary, became the springboard for your spectacular international success.
Your leadership at Daniel inspires in your team the highest standards and ethics. What is most impressive is the mastery you continue to show in developing your art in the kitchen, and the whole community of French chefs is proud to count you as one of their own.
Another reason I am proud of our friendship lies in the fact that this book is also an homage to la cuisine lyonnaise, and to the gastronomic roots you have always cultivated so loyally. As time went by, you also became close friends with my son Jérôme, and you are practically family, since you are now my grandson Paul’s godfather. I hope that your journey will inspire him.
With All My Admiration,
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
These recipes are the same ones our team prepares, but scaled down to home-friendly portions, and only slightly altered to fit most home kitchens’ capacities. Start by reading the whole recipe, and as you cook, follow the order of the directions. As you will see, most restaurant recipes use what we have called base recipes—vital elementary preparations such as stock, or optional garnishes such as chips. You can reference these shorter recipes at the back of the book. Feel free to prepare individual components, base, or the complete recipes. You’re the chef now!
A Note on Sous-Vide
As you will read, some of the recipes in our book are best prepared by cooking sous-vide, but when other cooking techniques can be substituted, we included those too.
Here are the essential tools for cooking sous-vide: a vacuum sealer, sous-vide bags, thermal circulator, digital thermocouple thermometer, and thermocouple tape. Using the sous-vide technique often guarantees the best, most consistent results, but also poses health risks if not utilized properly. Take extra caution to follow the instructions with precision when preparing sous-vide foods.
In many cases, the headnotes to the recipes mention the source of the star ingredient. Specialty ingredients often include a recommended brand.
Unless otherwise noted, these are the specifics of the basic ingredients:
Butter is unsalted.
Eggs are large.
Flour is all-purpose.
Herbs and juices are fresh.
Milk is whole.
Olive oil is extra-virgin.
Salt is fine sea salt (we recommend La Baleine).
Sugar is granulated.
Gelatin sheets are silver.
These tools will be helpful as you prepare the restaurant recipes:
Dutch oven (6 quart or larger)
Electric stand mixer with a 4- to 5-quart bowl
Fine-meshed drum sieve (or tamis)
Fine-meshed sieve (or chinois)
Heatproof glass or stainless steel bowls
Japanese Chiba Peel S turning slicer
Large, medium, and small saucepans
Rimmed baking sheets (9½ x 13-inch and 13 x 18-inch)
Measuring cups, spoons, and pitcher
One nonreactive baking dish, such as 9 x 9-inch Pyrex
One 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan
Pastry bags (plastic disposable)
Set of round pastry cutters
Sharp set of knives (at the minimum: butcher, slicing, paring, serrated)
Silpat sheets (one 8 x 11½-inch and two 11¾ x 16½-inch)
Small metal offset spatula
Stem thermometer (we recommend a Thermapen)
Whipped cream maker (we recommend iSi)
At the back of the book, we list sources for tools and ingredients in further detail. You will also find a glossary of culinary terms and ingredients.
Iconic French Dishes
These laborious, traditional French classics, rarely seen on today’s menus, are presented as boisterous, adventurous semitutorials in Bill Buford’s voice. Cooking with Bill, with his obsessive passion for culinary knowledge, is a reminder of how the history of these grand dishes intermingles with my story and Restaurant Daniel’s. I challenged Bill with these blasts from the past. These iconic dishes were researched and rehearsed, but as you will read, some components kept evolving as we went. We prepared them by remembering special meals and chefs, and we did not follow specific recipes. I hope this section will inspire you and that you will appreciate these dishes’ resonance in today’s cuisine. An attempt to re-create them could seem daunting to say the least, but not impossible with a little research, time, and practice.
Daniel at Home
I trust you will make some of the dishes featured in these home-cooked meals, inspired by some of my favorite regions in France. They have a special place in my heart and have been on my personal menus for friends and family for a long time. As always, take the time to read the instructions thoroughly before you start, since some recipes require marinating or other overnight processes. But don’t worry; these are the types of dishes that don’t require much attention once your guests arrive. This way you can enjoy the party and delight your crowd at the same time. Feel free to make just part of the menu or the whole thing. Either way, I hope my dishes will become standards in your recipe repertoire.
If you have any questions about sources, ingredients, or recipes along the way, please feel free to reach out to us by e-mailing [email protected]
PEEKYTOE CRAB ROLLS
GRANNY SMITH APPLE, CELERY, WALNUT
THIS SMALL CRAB that inhabits the craggy eastern coastline rocks, and particularly the Penobscot Bay in Maine, weighs often less than a pound. It lay there, underutilized by the rest of the world, until one of my favorite suppliers, Rod Mitchell, owner of the Browne Trading Company, decided to “officialize” its slang name. Often called mud or sand crab or even rock crab, the leggy specimen was branded the peekytoe crab. Mitchell got into his truck, drove to New York, and brought us some to taste. Since that day, it has become our crab of choice.
Because they are so delicate, the crabs cannot be shipped alive, so they have to be cooked in Maine and the shells picked, often by the fishermen’s wives, very carefully. At the restaurant, we pluck the remainder of the minuscule pieces of shells by placing them in a dark room and flashing a black neon light to highlight every speckle of shell.
In this recipe, the slightly tart apple exalts the sweetness of the crab. Since my days at Le Cirque, I have been playing with flaky crabmeat, celery, and apple in new ways every season, and this recipe is a variation of the original combination.
Honeycrisp Apple Confit
2 Honeycrisp apples
1 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
¼ cup walnut oil
Apple Pickle Coins
1 Granny Smith apple
1 cup rice vinegar
3½ tablespoons sugar
Apple Cider Gelée
1½ sheets gelatin
3 cold egg whites
3 cups apple cider
½ tablespoon poppy seeds
Celery Root Chips, Coins, and Puree
Canola oil for frying
1 medium (about 1 pound) celery root, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
Freshly ground white pepper
2 cups pomegranate juice
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
Apple Celery Sauce
5 Granny Smith apples
1 medium stalk celery
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon cider vinegar (we recommend Huilerie Beaujolaise)
½ teaspoon walnut oil
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 pound peekytoe crabmeat, picked
1 tablespoon brunoised celery root
1 tablespoon brunoised Honeycrisp apple, reserved
1½ tablespoons Mayonnaise (here)
½ tablespoon Orleans mustard
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 Granny Smith apples
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup crushed walnuts
Walnut Glaze (here)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
½ ounce micro celery leaves
6 Apple Skin Chips (here)
12 small light green celery leaves
For the Honeycrisp Apple Confit
Peel at least six 3-inch strips from the apples and square off the edges; reserve for apple skin chips. Cut the apples into at least six 2 × ½-inch batons; cut 1 tablespoon of the trim into brunoise for the salad.
Season the apple batons with the celery salt, salt, and pepper and transfer to a small saucepan. Add the walnut oil and set over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve, chilled.
For the Apple Pickle Coins
Peel the apple and, using a mandoline, cut into ⅛-inch slices. With a 1-inch ring cutter, punch out at least 12 “coins” and place in a shallow heatproof container. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then pour the mixture over the coins. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
For the Apple Cider Gelée
Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes; squeeze dry. In a small saucepan, whisk the cold egg whites and cider to combine. Place over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, undisturbed, allowing the egg whites to cook and form a “raft” on the surface. Remove from the heat and carefully scoop the clarified cider (so as not to break the raft) with a ladle through a fine-meshed sieve. Measure 2 cups clarified cider into a small saucepan, warm to just below a simmer, and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Cool the liquid to room temperature and stir in the poppy seeds. Pour onto a rimmed baking dish or plate to form a ¼-inch-thick layer. Refrigerate uncovered, making sure to keep it flat, for 4 hours, or until set. Using a paring knife, slice the gelée into at least six ¼-inch-wide by 1½-inch-long batons. Reserve, chilled.
For the Celery Root Chips, Coins, and Puree
For the chips, fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and heat to 300°F. Cut the celery root in half. With a mandoline, cut nine ⅛-inch slices from a flat edge. With a 1-inch ring cutter, punch out at least 12 discs; reserve the scraps for the puree. Fry 6 of the discs until crisp but not browned. Drain onto a paper towel–lined tray, sprinkle with salt, and cool.
For the coins, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil 6 discs for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water to chill. Strain, pat dry, and reserve, chilled.
For the puree, roughly chop the remaining celery root (approximately ¾ pound) from the chips and coins. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until browned. Add the celery root, milk, and enough water to cover; bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 12 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the celery root to a blender and puree with enough of the cooking liquid to make a smooth puree. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl set over ice and season with salt and pepper.
For the Pomegranate Reduction
Place the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce by two-thirds, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Whisk in the xanthan gum until well combined. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and reserve, chilled.
For the Apple Celery Sauce
Core the apples and cut them into quarters. With a vegetable juicer, juice the apples and celery into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Using a hand blender, mix in the remaining ingredients. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and reserve, chilled.
For the Crab Salad
Up to 1 hour before serving, in a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat, celery root, apple, mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, walnut oil, chives, and chervil. Season with salt and pepper and reserve, chilled.
With a Japanese Chiba Peel S turning slicer, slice the Granny Smith apples and trim into twelve 8 × 3-inch sheets. On a flat surface, line the sheets of apple vertically in a single layer. Lightly brush lemon juice on both sides. Divide the crab salad on top of each apple sheet into mounds at the end closest to you. One by one, roll the apple sheets away from you into tight rolls around the crab salad. Press a celery root coin against one end of each roll and an apple pickle coin on the other end. Lightly press one end of the crab roll with crushed walnuts to coat. Reserve, chilled.
For each serving, brush a streak of walnut glaze onto the bottom of a chilled plate. Place 2 rolls of crab on top. Spoon 3 dots of celery root puree in between the rolls and place a dot of pomegranate reduction, 1 pomegranate seed, and 1 leaf of micro celery in the center of each dot. Rest 1 baton of apple confit against 1 crab roll and 1 baton of apple cider gelée against the other roll. Garnish the rolls with 1 celery root chip, 1 apple skin chip, and 2 celery leaves. Pour approximately 3 tablespoons apple celery sauce onto the plate.
SHISO BAVAROIS, PONZU GELÉE
WE ALWAYS look for local Long Island fluke for this dish because when it gets to Hunts Point, the vibrant market in the Bronx, the fish literally shimmers as if it just couldn’t get any fresher.
At the restaurant, we add freshly grated wasabi, shiso, and soy, an essential Japanese scenario, and then set the stage for this delicate fish cured in salt, sugar, and lemon and lime zest. A creamy shiso bavarois balances the tangy and lean petals of fluke.
½ cup soy sauce
1 (2-inch-square) piece dried kombu
½ cup bonito flakes
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 teaspoon sake
2½ sheets gelatin
3 baby yellow beets
3 baby red beets
3 baby chioggia (candy stripe) beets
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
7½ ounces shiso leaves, stems trimmed
5 sheets gelatin
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks
2 cups edamame beans
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup fresh red beet juice
⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless fluke fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh wasabi
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 rectangular (5 × 1-inch) seaweed croutons (see Melba Croutons, here)
¼ cup micro shiso
¼ cup red seaweed salad (aka-tosaka)
“Whole fluke meunière was the norm during my Copenhagen days.
Then Japanese chefs taught us the pleasure of raw.”
For the Ponzu Gelée
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except the gelatin with 3 tablespoons water, cover, and refrigerate for 48 hours. Strain. Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes; squeeze dry. In a small saucepan, heat one-quarter of the strained liquid to just below a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the gelatin to dissolve, add the remaining liquid, and strain into a flat, rimmed container to reach ¼-inch thickness. Refrigerate, flat, for 4 hours, or until firm. Cut into ¼-inch cubes. Reserve, chilled.
For the Roasted Beets
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, toss each variety of beet separately with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Wrap them separately in aluminum foil packets and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove and, once cooled enough to handle but still warm, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets into ¼-inch slices and cut into decorative shapes such as rectangles, diamonds, or circles. Reserve, chilled.
For the Shiso Bavarois
Bring a medium pot filled with salted water to a boil; place a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil the shiso for 20 seconds. Strain and chill in the ice water. Squeeze dry and transfer to a blender along with 2 tablespoons ice water. Puree until very smooth but still thick, adding more water only if needed. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
Soak the gelatin sheets in ice water for 10 minutes; squeeze dry. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat one-third of the shiso puree, then stir in the gelatin until dissolved. In a medium bowl, combine the warm shiso puree with the remaining puree. While the mixture is still slightly warm, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks remain, then season with salt. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking pan in a ½-inch layer and freeze, uncovered. Once frozen, cut into six 4½ x 1-inch rectangles, cover, and refrigerate.
For the Edamame Puree
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Add the edamame and boil for 1 minute, or until tender. Strain and chill in the ice water; reserve 30 beans for garnish. Place the remaining edamame in a blender. Heat the cream to a simmer and, while the blender is running, stream in the cream to make a smooth, thick puree. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve; season with Tabasco, salt, and pepper and reserve, chilled.
For the Beet Reduction
In a small saucepan over medium heat, reduce the beet juice to ½ cup. Whisk in the xanthan gum until dissolved. Reserve, chilled.
For the Sesame Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Reserve, chilled.
For the Cured Fluke
In a nonreactive container, combine the salt, sugar, and zests. Add the fluke and pack the salt mixture around to coat completely. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove the fluke, rinse off and discard the salt mixture, and pat dry.
With a sharp slicing knife, starting at the tail end, cut the fillets diagonally against the grain into ⅛-inch slices. On a flat surface lined with plastic wrap, arrange the fish slices in a single layer and season with the olive oil, wasabi, and salt and pepper. Top with more plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat mallet to flatten into thin, translucent petals. Reserve, chilled.
When ready to serve, season the beets and fluke separately with sesame dressing to taste.
For each serving, place a rectangle of bavarois at the center of a chilled plate and top with a crouton. Arrange 3 or 4 petals of fluke on top of the crouton to resemble waves. Garnish the perimeter with a line of 5 edamame puree dots, alternating with pieces of diced ponzu gelée. Top the puree dots with the reserved edamame. Swipe a line of beet reduction at a right angle to the line of edamame and gelée and arrange 3 pieces (one of each color) of beets in front. Garnish the top of the fluke with micro shiso and red seaweed salad.
NANTUCKET SCALLOP CEVICHE
BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE
ON THE EAST COAST, November through March represents the blessed season of the sweet Nantucket bay scallop. Winter and its cortege of meats, stews, and deep flavors seem to plead for lighter appetizers such as this sweet and sour citrus ceviche symphony. Blood orange, lime, lemon, and one of our house favorites, Buddha’s hand citron confit, all conspire to create the base for a tangy and colorful tide.
Blood Orange Sauce
½ cup blood orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons red verjus (we recommend 8 Brix)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 splash of Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons white verjus (we recommend 8 Brix)
¼ teaspoon sugar
20 fresh bay scallops, muscle removed
Good-quality olive oil (we recommend Armando Manni Per Mio Figlio)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 blood orange, cut into supremes
2 red radishes, cut into brunoise
1 tablespoon brunoised celery
Freshly grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon nori sheet, cut into ¼-inch squares
2 red radishes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Buddha’s Hand Citron Confit (here)
¼ cup small opal basil leaves
¼ cup yellow celery leaves
12 dill leaves
Chive Oil (see Green Herb Oil, here)