For Shabbos, we made a number of new dishes – and we tried some new plating ideas and we actually photographed some of them.
I started off with trying a new technique (for me) for the rib eye steak from Bryan Voltaggio. I made a dry rub of fennel seeds, coriander and black sesame seeds with salt and pepper and applied it to the rib eye steak. I picked the black sesame seeds, because I thought it would look nice on the meat. I had never used fennel seeds before on meat and the fennel imparted a beautiful subtle flavor.
I took one pound of rib eye, trimmed off all the excess fat I could, and cut it into a rectangular block. I seasoned the block with salt and pepper, then I took a tablespoon each of fennel seed (which I ground up by using a knife and just chopping up the seeds), coriander (dried) and sesame seeds and applied the dry rub to all 4 sides. I then seared all 4 sides of the meat in a hot saute pan – just be careful not to burn the spices (I seared the meat for about 3-4 minutes a side). After searing I put the meat in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes (you will determine how long you leave it in the oven by how cooked you want the finished meat to be – the searing leaves the meat *very* rare).
The Potato Confit (confit is a French word generally referring to meat – and it means that the meat is cooked in its own fat and should be very tender – when the word is used with vegetables it means the vegetable should be very tender, I’m using this term, because it was used from the recipe I got from Kenny Gilbert – however, the potatoes were deep fried, so I’m not sure “confit” actually fits this method). I took about a cup of oil, put it in a small pot and heated it up, then I added the potatoes (that I cut into ovals) – I cooked the potatoes for approximately 12 minutes – until they became golden brown, then I salted the potatoes once I removed them from the oil. In the same oil I added rings of onions – pick a small onion, so the rings are small and add the onions *after* the potato – the onions will cook much faster, once they are the color you would like them to be, take them out of the oil. The potato “coulis” is really just a puree of potato with onions and seasonings (salt and pepper) – I was looking to make a thick puree, so that the potato can stand up in it. My husband upon tasting the confit coulis combination thought it would be better with a sweet potato puree. So, I tried that (although did not photograph it) and we thought it worked much better. First of all, you have the contrasting colors, and then the contrasting taste (savory and sweet) was fun. I added minced onion to the sweet potato with salt and pepper and we liked it a lot.
The crispy basil – take some fresh basil and in that hot oil – throw the leaves in – they don’t have to stay in long, about 2 minutes – and then take them out. The longer you leave the basil in, the less green the leaves will become and they will burn and not taste very good. I cut up some fresh orange tomatoes and then put the crispy basil on top. You could salt the tomatoes if you want, but I liked them by themselves.
We made a 6 pointed challah. This is a fun challah to make for simchas or if you are having a lot of guests – you end up having a lot of challah, so make sure you have friends to share with. I did not take pre-photographs, perhaps next week. If you are interested in how I did this, send me an email and I’ll describe it to you.
I thought this appetizer came out very well – I modified a recipe from Jacqueline Lombard. She used the apple cup with a liver mousse. I’ve never made a liver mousse, so instead we tried it with a salmon mousse. The apple cup was dipped in lemon juice to prevent oxidation. I picked a salmon mousse as a contrast to the tart granny smith apple.