Previously, tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
..if it’s not literally a perfect custard, but you have maintained a great feeling for it, then you have created a recipe perfectly because there was that passion behind what you did…this is my greatest hope – you’re going to create something that you have deep respect and feelings and passions for. And you know what? It’s going to be more satisfyng than anything I could ever make for you. -Thomas Keller, The French Laundry Cookbook (pgs 2,3)
As I was growing up, I had this image of French food being dominated by roux based sauces. So as I was reading through my copy of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook, I was surprised that the Yabba Dabba Do recipe had a new interpretation of a classic French sauce, the Sauce Bordelaise, that had no butter or flour in it. So I thought I’d make a variant of the dish for Sunday night (15 Jul 2012) dinner for my wife and I based on some of the menus from Per Se/French Laundry. So that dish I decided to make was Snake River Farms ‘Kobe’ Ribeye With Roasted Vegetables And French Laundry-Style Bordelaise. Chef Thomas Keller’s Recipe for the Bordelaise Sauce can be found here –
There were two minor changes I was going to make to the bordelaise sauce. The first was to substitute in Perfect Additions’ Beef Stock for the listed veal stock listed in the recipe for the sauce and the second was use of shiitake mushrooms (to up the umami quotient). I really have to take my hat off to Connie Grigsby@Perfect Additions for making available the beef stock to make this meal. With such good quality stocks, it’s a real time saver. The one interesting side effect that 1 unit of her product is 16 oz which then made me realize I was going to have to make a double order of the Sauce Bordelaise. For the red wine (Chef Keller recommends a cabernet sauvingon), I was going to use the J. Lohr 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.
As I mentioned earlier, HMart, Burlington, MA provides Snake River Farms (aka “SRF” from now on), American Kobe. So I got a package with 2 x 1/3 lb pieces of their ribeye for the main course:
To start the preparations, the day before (Sat, 14 July 2012) I got a package of shredded carrots, shallots, garlic, shiitakes, parsley and thyme from Whole Foods. While the recipe calls for sliced garlic, I took the approach from Nobu and grated the garlic instead. For the shallots, I did a fine dice instead of slicing. So I measured out the following:
Once those items were placed into my cooking pot, I counted out and cleaned:
At this point, I was ready to add 2 cups of the J Lohr 2009 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon. Once the wine was into the cooking vessel, I heated it up and brought it to a simmer (on 50% max power) and
cooked it down for the better part of 30-35 minutes. Most of the liquid was gone by this point and so
I counted out 12 black peppercorns to add to the pot as well as the beef stock. So the entire sauce
mixture went back on a simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce it. At this point the sauce was ready to be strained and it ended up being pretty close to about 50% of the original volume. So I strained
the sauce and gave it the back-of-the-spoon test to see if the sauce had thickened enough/nappe’d.
The sauce seemed to have the right deep color and sheen to it –
and had apparently reduced enough –
..and away the sauce went into the refridgerator, awaiting Sunday’s dinner.
On Sunday afternoon, I thought it was high time to get things started and so off to Whole Foods, Newton my wife and I went to collect the produce for the meal. For the meal, my wife wanted a Boston Lettuce salad with the Bouchon vinaigrette, so we got a nice head of the boston lettuce as well as ‘baby carrots’, ‘baby cippolinis’, fingerling potatoes and eringi mushrooms. So much like I did with the japanese baby turnips (kabu) in my parent’s kitchen, I was going to roast the carrots, cippolini’s
and fingerling potatoes in foil in my countertop oven at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes. In order to make sure each of the potatoes were cooked through properly, I placed many deep scorings through the top of each (but not all the way through) much like a Japanese chef would prepare hamo (pike conger eel). I got them into their ceramic dishes with a bit of canola oil and 4:1 salt/pepper mix. The dishes got wrapped in foil and off they went to roast. For the eringi, I separated the caps from the body and cut
stars into the top of the caps, while I did a rough ‘oblique cut’ (The French Laundry Cookbook, p. 202) of the eringi bodies. At this point I was ready to cook the steaks, so I brought them out to reach room temperature; and while waiting, I got them seasoned on both sides with liberally with 4:1 salt/pepper (especially since the sauce itself contained no salt!). The steaks I dry seared on all sides, and because the steaks
were only ~1/2″ thick, I cooked them on 50% max power heat for about 3 minutes a side. At that point I removed them from the pan to let them rest. I brought out the sauce bordelaise and got that into my sauce pan to re-warm at medium heat for about 5 minutes. I added a little grapeseed oil to
the pan I’d just cooked the steaks in to cook the eringi caps, star side down for about a minute on high heat and then flipped them to cook for another minute on the other side. The caps I reserved and then added in the ‘chopped’ eringi with salt/pepper to cook for about 2 to 3 minuteson high heat with a little more grapeseed oil until they were tender and ‘toasty’.
To finish, I put a half a portion of the sauteed eringi parts in a straight line at the bottom of each of the plates and then topped it with the ribeye. Atop the rib I added the eringi cap and to the sides I place 2 cippolinis, 2 fingerling potatoes and two carrots. I finished each plate by pouring over the 2 oz of the sauce bordelaise making sure the bottom of the plate was well covered with the sauce.
As my wife and I both tasted our entrees, we’re both surprised how pure the flavors were; you could very clearly taste each of the dish’s components with the sauce complementing each of them. I’m glad I seasoned each of the components the way that I did, relative to the sauce bordelaise. This was one of those dishes where, as Chef Keller commented “…Salt opens up flavors, makes them sparkle…” (The French Laundry Cookbook, p. 180). This sauce bordelaise was unlike the one I had at the BOKX 109 Steakhouse. If my memory serves me correctly, I recalled the bordelaise version at BOXK 109 having a deep thick beefy feel with a definite salt ‘zest’ to it. This French Laundry version my wife and I tasted had a deep yet lighter rich taste with a lot of herbaceous notes to it (no doubt from the vegetables that were infused into the cabernet sauvignon during the sauce making process). The rich mouth-feel of the sauce, no doubt, came from the gelatin that was in the beef stock used to make the sauce. Thank you, Chef Keller, for giving me a new perspective on the sauce bordelaise and thank you for sharing with us the recipe from your book.