Beef-Tenderloin-finished-1b

  Another dish I love from Ruhlman’s Twenty, is perfect for early spring when the nights (here at least) are still cool. I love it for its counter-intuitiveness—boiled beef tenderloin? Actual poached to rare and served in cooking liquid flavored by the root vegetables (celery and beef are always a great pair). But what makes this dish special is the lemon vinaigrette, seasoned with garlic, cracked coriander seeds (it’s fine to leave some seeds whole, as they give an intriguing crunch and flavor burst), and the amazing umami ingredient, fish sauce. I began making a version of this in the early 1990s after reading a similar recipe in The New York Times, but I can’t seem to find it. It’s important to use fresh beef stock; anything else would ruin the elegant flavor and texture of the Read On »

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Shrimp-&-Grits-finished-1a

Reposting this method because, well, just the name of the dish is inspiring: butter-poached shrimp. Butter-poached shrimp and grits. Mmmm. Butter-poached lobster, not uncommon in French haute cuisine, was popularized in America by Thomas Keller in The French Laundry Cookbook and at that restaurant. “Lobster loves gentle heat,” he told me then. It’s not much of a leap for the thrifty-minded cook to reason that shrimp, too, love gentle heat. That’s why, in the butter chapter of my book Ruhlman’s Twenty, I showed how to use butter as a cooking medium (one of the many amazing ways butter can be used as a tool). This dish is absolutely killer. The shrimp stay very tender, rich and tasty with the butter; the grits are then enriched with the shrimp butter. Leftover butter can be used to saute shrimp Read On »

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Leeks-and-Viniagrette

  This is one of my favorite bistro staples, which I feature in Ruhlman’s Twenty. The recipe uses a classic red wine vinaigrette. Pairing it with a member of the onion family, abundant shallots, results in a great bistro dish, the preparation showcases the power of red wine vinaigrette to illuminate cooked cold vegetables. The quality of the vinegar is critical, so its worth buying a good one. The vinaigrette can also be made with a good Spanish sherry vinegar.   Leeks Vinaigrette Serves 4 4 large leeks or 8 small leeks 1/4 cup/60 milliliters red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon honey Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup/180 milliliters canola oil 1/4 cup/170 grams minced shallots 4 hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites finely chopped 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives Trim the roots Read On »

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Stock-Mise-en-place

  Want to make Thanksgiving day easier on yourself and ensure you have the best gravy ever? Start now. (Or this weekend.) This, too, planning ahead, is part of mise en place, one of the most important cooking “techniques” to recognize. Mise en place literally translates as put in place. To a cook, mise en place refers to his or her station set-up—having all that you need, at your station and in place, to accomplish the work ahead. Mise en place is shorthand for being prepared, at your station and in your mind. (I write about this more completely in Ruhlman’s Twenty.) It’s the cook’s first order of business, at a restaurant, at home. Making a roast chicken dinner with green beens and baked potato? Get everything out on the counter before you pick that Read On »

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4-Onion-Garbure

Continuing a series of soup posts as the weather cools (here in the Northeast at least), I’m offering this rich vegetable garbure. Garbure hails from my favorite food region, Gascony, in the southwestern corner of France. (I wrote about it here for Conde Nast Traveler.) It would traditionally include some kind of confited meat and cabbage. This version, which I included in Ruhlman’s Twenty, gets its depth of flavor from bacon rind, but you could substitute several slices of rind-on bacon, diced, or omit the bacon completely for a vegetarian soup. But pig skin, connective tissue, is loaded with a protein called collagen, which breaks down into gelatin to give the soup great body. If you can’t find slab bacon with a rind to remove yourself, order it from your butcher or meat department. Or, better Read On »

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