Thursday, April 20, 2006

And tarragon chicken it shall be

So last night I was on saute again for the first time in about two weeks. I went into the evening with two goals. The first: Remember to add lemon juice at the end of the steamer bowl. The second: Make damn sure it's tarragon chicken and not just...chicken. I came through on one of those goals.

Even though remembered to add that licoricy, easy-to-go-over tarragon all night long, there were (on a few occasions) times throughout the night when I had to call out to the waitress before food was huslted out the door.

"Wait up, wait up!" I would cry. Then I would quickly cross the kitchen to meet them, always holding either a steaming pile of shellfish and bruschetta, or a bowlful of saffron-aioli covered cioppino, and top off the dish with a squirt of fresh lemon juice I keep in a squeeze bottle on my mis en place. It was last minute and sloppy but, this is seafood and shellfish man. This combination is important business.

I also requested to try and think up a soup to use at the lunch service this week. Paul is currently on a leave (brand new baby boy), so the soups are in other hands for a few days. I looked through James Peterson's Splendid Soups book, and requested that we do some sort of a take on his Grand Borsch recipe. I finished the base for the soup last night. The base involves whole roasted beets, which I covered in olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar; I also roasted whole onions in their skins (they were also covered them with olive oil, salt, and pepper). Once these were soft I added them to a chicken stock which I had placed some ham hocks in and then reduced down to make it very concentrated. After this I ran the entire mixture (less the now-flavorless ham hocks) through a china cap - twice - and was left with a bright red, clear, salty, beet broth. Clear as an antonym to cloudyby the way, not colorless.

This will be brought up to temperature today and served over very thinly sliced cabbage (I'm hoping savoy - as the book recommends), and garnished with creme fraiche and grilled beets. I'm hoping it sells, although I think the application is a new to people. I'll find out tonight when I go back in.


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