Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the plating challenge

when susanna texted me last night asking if i would be interested in buying some foie gras in a form of a take home kit, i was very agreeable since i was disappointed that i wasn't able to have the foie dish at the last hapa ramen pop up (way too full from the pork cheeks and mushroom mochi dishes to have the foie as well). after she dropped off the foie take home kit on her way home (i didn't really leave my place yesterday...except to get cash for the foie....and i bribed her and a mutual friend with gelato bars for the personal delivery instead of my going to the hapa ramen kitchen... ha! creamy treats are always a good bribe), she also emailed me a pic of what the foie dish looked like at the popup.

this is one of the pics from susanna ok

so after my slew of early morning meetings were done today, i decided to enter my kitchen to plate the foie gras take home kit. i never would have ever thought i'd be eating foie at home. it is something that is way too labor intensive for me to attempt to do at home....especially the added step that richie does....with working the foie torchon through the tamis before setting it into a terrine.

i had my ipad open to my email which allowed for a viewer of the pic and set about plating the foie dish at home.

unsurprisingly, plating the dish i was about to eat made me ponder what it means to conceive of a dish like this one....the amount of thought and work that goes into each component before it is assembled.....from the decadentness of the cubes or "tartare" of the foie gras terrine .... the savory caramelized fennel puree with hints of sweetness (which i added too much to my plating should have started with a small mound and then moved across the plate like a paint brush stroke as the base...oh well, next time i'll know better) the sweetness relayed by the tiny honey brioche croutons....
to the reference to the common pairing of fruit and foie...but taking the bright bursts acid fruitiness from the grapes a step further by halving the grapes....and then there is appropriately garnishing it all with fennel fronds.

so many components that were thought out, made separately, and then brought together for a melody of contrasting textures and complementary flavors.

i was telling someone the other night that you can tell who is extensively talented and who is not....just by the food on the plate. it is all there....for folks to see....for those who take a moment and really see what....and on the plate. this is one of the reasons why i enjoy going to the hapa ramen pop ups. while i am a big consumer of the ramen (umm duh), i love being able to see the range of talent that is in the kitchen.

as i looked at my plating, i was rather annoyed at myself for not doing appropriate homage to richie's food.... not only did i notice that i used too much caramelized fennel puree.....i also should have made the oval tighter with the ingredients. as i didn't have edible flowers (i suspect those are wild radish flowers in the original pic) and purslane on hand, i didn't leave my place to go get those ingredients. if this was for company and not just for me...i probably would have gone out to find equivalents before the plating. despite some of my glaring errors with the plating, it was all very delicious.

i must confess that i may do something a bit sacrilegious with the rest of the foie that i bought from hapa ramen since i will likely not have foie at home again.... i may make a version of a banh mi from it. perhaps using some pickles, aioli, soy, chilies, cilantro, and acme bread....just because i'm curious about it. i'm surprised that i haven't seen something like this on menus yet....a high end version of a pate banh mi sandwich....i know that OTD has one with in-house high end ingredients like house created porchetta....but i haven't seen one with foie. hmmm...something to think about for dinner.

well, must get back to work....


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