What could be more of a lovely present than spending 2 days in a tiny kitchen, organizing and cooking just for her?
What else could be more fulfilling and satisfying than several meaty courses for a meat lover?
Not much. Or at least, I can’t think of anything else right now.
That’s why I want to show you and present you each course of this awesome dinner I held last Saturday.
For the first course, there was a little smoked salmon tartar with pancake, crème fraiche and dill-flavored water, served in a cute glass butter cloche.
I took a nice piece of raw salmon and sliced it into tiny bits. I then added chopped parsley, cilantro, mustard, shallot, lemon, salt and pepper.
My lazy a** got me to buy some ready-to-eat pancakes and cut nice circles out of them instead of, like initially planned, making blinis by myself. On top, I put a drop of crème fraiche.
At first, I wanted to make dill-flavored water and use the spherification method to get some nice fake dill-caviar. Unfortunately, I missed the right ratio between liquid and sodium alginate and didn’t realize it in time. I decided to use the dill-water as it is and drop a few dots of it on the crème fraiche.
The dill-flavored water is blanched dill, blitzed with some water and salt and then strained through a coffee filter after a night of resting in the fridge.
For the smoking herbs, I chopped a pinch of thyme, rosemary and orange peel.
And this is how it looked:
Yeah right, fish in a meat-themed dinner? I know, but it was delicious anyway.
So, to stick to the meat topic, here’s what I did for the second course.
I actually planned to take pictures of the rillettes preparation procedure in order to write a recipe but forgot about it, I guess I’ll just cook another rillettes sometime.
Anyway here’s a short memo so any of you can imitate it:
I put some chicken legs in a baking dish with goose fat, bay leaves, thyme, sprigs of lavender, salt and pepper. I then baked the whole thing for a few hours, let it cool, pulled the meat from the bones and mixed it with some of the remaining fat, mustard, salt and pepper and lavender sprigs.
Using the warm rillettes, I tried to build some kind of tramezzini-styled sandwich with some toast which I then brushed with spiced olive oil.
Along with that, I made a mixture of a delicious tomato sauce and some methylcellulose and let a few spoons of it in simmering water to obtain a warm, jellified tomato sauce. With a little parsley on it, it looks just like a really soft tomato.
After that, some nice pork belly with celeriac and apple was served. I cured the pork belly over night in salt, sugar, cardamom, juniper and fennel seeds. I then cooked it sous-vide for at least 8 hours. By sous-vide, I mean that I usually fill up a zip lock bag with the goods and try suck out most of the air to reach some kind of 90% vacuum preparation. The bag was then put in warm water and the water temperature was controlled with an infrared thermometer. (Works best on ceramic and electric stove though)
For the celeriac puree, I chopped the bulb and put it in a saucepan, covered it with cream and added a garlic clove and some thyme sprigs. I let it cook until soft and puréed it until smooth. In a last step, I strained it through a sieve and put it aside until ready to serve (and to heat up).
The apple puree was made with oven baked apple halves covered in butter and goose fat. (Yes, you read that right! It gives a nice and subtle meaty taste, great for pairing with the pork). The apples were then puréed and got some lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Again, this was put aside until needed.
With a melon baller, I cut out some balls out of carrots and sous-vide cooked them as long as the pork. The vacuum bag was filled with the balls, some thyme and rosemary and a spoonful of butter.
When ready to serve, I colored the pork on all sides in a hot pan and then garnished the third course:
For the fourth course, I thought of a classical pan-seared duck breast with a goose stock and port wine reduction (thickened with xanthan) , served along with pumpkin puree and fried potato cylinders.
I placed the duck breast with the skin side down in a cold pan and let it heat up until the skin gets nice and crispy. I then turned it around and let it sear another 2-3 minutes before leaving it in the oven at 180°C/360°F for 6-8 minutes.
The pumpkin puree is just some pumpkin chunks covered with water, spices and cooked until soft and then puréed.
The potato cylinders are basically just round French fries. Although, they have a nice and creamy center.
I served the whole with some salad and an edible flower, just for the looks. I brushed the skin of the duck breast with some honey.
Now comes the best part in this dinner. I used one of Gordon Ramsay’s recipes for the Beef Wellington and added my own two cents (or should I say my own 7€ because of the truffle?)
Anyway, I added chopped black truffle to the duxelle and it made this dish the most expensive I ever cooked, and the most delicious beef.
25€ beef fillet, puff pastry, 5€ king oyster mushrooms, 3€ prosciutto and 7€ black truffles. Breaking it down on 4 servings, it is more than 10€ of product costs per person.
Worth it? Totally! The long resting times between each step of the preparation and the exclusive ingredients make the meat really juicy and tender.
Finally, for the dessert, I served a hemispheric white chocolate bowl with coffee sponge, rum infused pineapple, homemade vanilla caramel, crème fraiche and popping sugar.
For the coffee sponge, I used a mug cake recipe and replaced milk by coffee and added some black food coloring.
The pineapple has been sous-vide cooked for a few hours with some Caribbean rum, anise seeds, lime and vanilla. It turned out to be way too much alcohol for our tongues to handle so we just left the pineapple on the plate.
For the caramel, I cooked some water and sugar, added cream once it began to caramelize und let it cook a while before putting it into a marmalade glass.
I served the chocolate bowl on a little coffee sponge support and put a few drops of cold coffee onto the sponge so it absorbs more taste.