Friday, November 26, 2010

Halibut and Braised Beef Short Rib Stack a la Potatoes Anna, Dill Creme Potato and Sauce Magdelaine

     This fish and short rib stack entree is similar to a menu item that we served at a Michelin Star rated French restaurant that I worked in.  We served modern French comfort food like no other restaurant ever has!  We switched to French comfort cuisine because of the economic recession of 2001
     We broke all sales records that season, while many other fine dining restaurants were losing business.  Much of our competition at that time was serving overpriced uncomfortable fusion food.  After the events of September 2001, most people were not attracted to challenging eccentric fusion cuisine.
     This comfort food lesson was not learned by many restauranteurs in the current economic depression.  The lesson is, edgy eclectic overpriced cuisine does not sell as good, when people tighten their budgets.  For example, many of the "cutting edge" high end restaurants have closed their doors permanently in recent years.
     The smarter French chefs switched to fixe multi course pre fixe menus and modern comfort food to capture the customers who don't want to pay $80 for a 2 ounce piece of rare tuna with a "hit or miss" fusion preparation.  The chef of the decade, Joel Robuchon has had great success with the pre fixe and comfortable tapas cuisine menu concept in Las Vegas.  Many other chefs who did not adapt to the economic times abandoned their restaurants during this recession.
     Some of the haute comfort food that I have posted in my blog shows that I am a little bit ahead of the recent fine comfort food trend.  Experience is in my favor.  Making changes to get more business during adverse trends is part of restaurant and chef survival.  I have helped many restaurants survive bad economic times, by being aggressive with special du jour offerings that were geared to appeal to the demographic clientele that was spending money at the time.  People seem to seek comfort food during bad times!
     The only problem that we had with this recipe at the French restaurant was with the short ribs.  The chef assigned the short rib preparation duty to an inexperienced cook.  The short ribs were always improperly braised and they were always dried out instead of being moist and tender.  As you can see in the pictures, my braising technique yields some nice looking moist juicy short ribs.  Like all high end fine French cooking, the bones are removed from the short ribs before serving.
     We used micro sprouts as a garnish for this recipe instead of the simple green onion strips that are shown in the photos.  I was in Chicago when I cooked this recipe and gourmet items like micro green sprouts are not stocked in any middle of the road Chicago grocery stores!  John Dory was originally the featured fish.  The plate was painted with three flavors of beurre blanc, tomato concasse and the magdelaine sauce.  Parsnip chive creme potato was used instead of dill creme potato.  If you wish to go all the way, then use the restaurant's guidelines for this recipe.
     I designed this recipe blog version of the recipe to be a little bit simpler for the readers.  The main focus should be on the magdelaine sauce of reduced fish broth and espagnole style short rib sauce.  This is one of the rare plates of food that a magdelaine sauce can be used for!
     Braised Beef Short Ribs:
     Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 4 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 meaty beef short ribs.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sear the short ribs on all sides, till they become brown in color.
     Add 1 crushed clove of garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped tomato.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add enough beef stock to cover the ribs.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Place the pot into a 350 degree oven.
     Let the ribs braise, till they start to become tender.  (About 45 minutes to 1 hour.)
     Remove the ribs from the pan and set them aside.
     Place the sauce pot with the bouillon over medium heat.
     Gently boil and reduce the liquid by half.
     Add just enough blonde roux while whisking to thicken the sauce to a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Add 1/4 cup of cabernet sauvignon wine.
     Reduce the sauce, till the sauce is able to coat a spoon.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Return the short ribs to the sauce.
     Gently simmer the short ribs in the sauce over low heat, for at least 20 minutes.
     Creme Dill Potato:
     Boil 1 peeled russet potato in water, till it becomes soft and tender.
     Drain the water off of the potato.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 3 pinches of chopped fresh dill.
     Whisk the potatoes, till they become mashed and creamy.
     Place the mashed dill potatoes into a star tipped pastry bag.
     Place the pastry bag on the stove top to keep it warm.
     Potatoes Anna:
     Cut 1/2 of a peeled russet potato into very thin slices.
     Brush a baking pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Place a 4 to 5 inch wide ring mold on the pan.
     Layer the thin slices of potato in the ring mold, till the potato slices are about 1/2 inch thick.
     Drizzle a generous amount of melted unsalted butter over the potato slices.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Bake in a 350 degree oven, till the potato slices turn golden brown.
     Keep the Potatoes Anna warm on a stove top.
     Broiled Halibut:
     Cut a 5 ounce halibut filet, so the piece of halibut is 4 to 5 inches around.
     Place the halibut on a buttered baking pan.
     Brush the halibut with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the fish.
     Broil the halibut filet in an oven, till it becomes fully cooked.
     Keep the halibut warm on a stove top.
     Magdelaine Sauce:
     Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 clove of crushed garlic.
     Add 1 small handful of chopped onion.
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 3 to 4 ounces of white fish scraps.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Saute the fish scraps, till they become lightly browned.
     Add twice as much water as needed to cover the fish scraps in the pot.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Gently boil and reduce the liquid by half.
     Pour the fresh fish broth through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Place the sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add just enough blonde roux, while whisking, to thicken the sauce to a thin sauce consistency.
     Remove the beef ribs from the simmering brown sauce in the other sauce pot and set them aside.
     Mix the two sauces together with a 50/50 proportion.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce over medium heat, till it can glaze a spoon.
     Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
     Halibut and Braised Beef Short Rib Stack a la Potatoes Anna, Dill Creme Potato and Sauce Magdelaine:
     Remove the bones from the short ribs.
     Trim the fat and sinew off of the short rib meat.
     Cut the beef short rib meat into thin slices.
     Pipe the dill cream potato onto the center of a plate, so they form a circle that is as wide as the Potatoes Anna.
     Place the braised short rib slices on top of the cream potatoes.
     Use a spatula to place the Potatoes Anna on top of the short ribs.
     Use a spatula to place the broiled halibut filet on top of the Potatoes Anna.
     Pour the Magdelaine Sauce around the plate.
     Garnish the sauce with a few dollops of diced tomato cancasse.  (Concasse means peeled, cored and seeded firm tomato flesh.)
     Garnish the halibut with thin scallion strips or a garnish of your choice.
     Think of this recipe as being a refined "Surf and Turf" entree!  This is one of a few dishes that use Magdelaine Sauce.  A true magdelaine sauce is based on espagnole and white fish veloute sauces combined.  Magdelaine refers to a seaside resort area in eastern europe where cutting edge creative modern food is the norm.
     The "Napoleon" style stacked presentation glorifies this entree.  Two preparations of the same type of potato on the same plate is not taboo.  Broiled halibut goes nicely with the beef short ribs and sauce.  The short ribs are juicy and tender!
     The flavors of this entree will make you want to open a bottle of fine wine.  Red or white wine?  Either choice of wine is good with this modern French comfort food entree!  Bon Apetit!  ...  Shawna

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