Menu Normandie: Canard en deux cuissons, rôti sur coffre cuisse en crépine, et jus court, pommés dauphines
After two manic services we still had the Normandy menu to go through on Friday. I had the awesomest luck to get teamed with the duck three days in a row. Not just that, I also had the awesomest luck to be teamed with the same team-mate I had all throughout service. I think that if this dude moved or worked any slower he would be genetically identical to a snail. To start Friday off he drops a “I’ve cut myself all over and so would like to excuse myself from any chopping today” bomb on OBOC (whom I’m appreciating more since he’s unleashed his sense of humour) and myself, waving his ugly, oozing green and black thumb in our faces. I know it was just Friday morning but I let loose in a not so nice way. His cuts were really a result of his own irresponsibility and he should have been doing something about it rather than wait for it to get engulfed by gangrene and let it fall into a casserole.
It may have actually been a blessing in disguise since it could have taken him the whole weekend to get done with six shallots and a duck, and I have plans. So we let him deal with easy-peasy roast potatoes and pâte à chou (choux pastry). Having done the pâte à chou on Monday already, one would’ve thought he’d be done with it before we could say “Choux”. Okay maybe not, but at least within twenty minutes tops. An hour, three attempts and a very impatient Shmii later he still enlisted OBOC’s help to get done with it. I’d felt like I’d aged 40 years till he finally got done with the dough. Ridiculous. It takes him a year to get anything done because according to his own admission he thinks about it. Less thinking, more doing please, me thinks.
I’m hoping I’m not being paired with ducks and snails for at least a while. My patience is running dangerously low.
Verrine de Tourteaux, Espuma d’Avocat
This was one of my favourite courses (apart from dessert, because we know dessert always wins). Fresh crab meat, lemon, mango, pomelos with an avocado cream. It was surprisingly light, fresh, and looked delightful, which in itself is a shocker considering it was plated by D-bag who up until now made anything he touched look like roadkill. Very pleasantly surprised indeed. I’m not sure how much of this entree’s success had to do with having the VIP award-winning chef guest as D-bag’s helper but I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Soles Farcies, Duxelles de Champignons au Gingembre, Creme de Moules et Bigorneaux, Puree Fine de Topinambours
Dover sole. Delicious. Stuffed with mushroom and shallots sauteed in butter. Phwoaaar. Bed of mashed jerusalem artichokes and a periwinkle sauce. Dribble fest.
This dish was worthy of three stars. It looked too elegant to cut into. I was rather dubious about the winkle sauce, since I had tasted one while doing the utterly tedious task of pulling each one out of its shell with a soggy toothpick for ages. It tasted like a chewy mussel. Not really mind-blowing on its own, but it was wonderful in the sauce, imparting a nice faint greenish colour. Lovely stuff.
Bar Entier Cuit en Croute de Sel aux Deux Pommes
Sea bass cured in grey salt served over a bed of apples, potatoes and black mushrooms with a cider sauce. The sea bass had been buried in a crust of salt and cooked in the oven for 40 minutes. It tasted salty. I wasn’t too keen on the fish itself but the cider sauce was scrummy with the cubed apples, potatoes and trompettes de la mort (dead black mushrooms).
Canard en Deux Cuissons, Rôti sur Coffre Cuisse en Crépine, et Jus Court, Pommés Dauphines
Bloody duck. That’s what canard au sang is and, coincidentally, also my exact sentiments after three days of dealing with ducks. These ducks are monstrously huge, and bloody beyond belief. Their necks are twisted instead of slashed so that the blood remains in the body, making the meat tender. That’s just gross.
This is also when my diminutive stature is a particular disadvantage. My chopping board isn’t at waist level. It is at chest level. So the blood got all over my upper body.
We had to roast the breast meat on the carcass and make sausage-like things out of the leg meat with pork fat, shallots and tarragon using this wierd pork fat spider web type covering. They looked like little brains.
The pate a chou was mashed together with the roasted potatoes and had to be deep friend in little bits. Slow-mo made them look like little goat droppings until I decided I did not want to plate animal excrement along with the meat and proceeded to make little balls out of them. “Ooh lala c’est jolie!”, said the Chef. Mais oui.
OUr VIP contest-winning guest chef said the bloody duck was his favourite. Too bad I was totally unenthused by our dish. It tasted flat, dull and bloody. I’m even considering changing the blog’s name. Enough of ducks already.
Apples cooked in butter and calvados, in a sweet pastry crust with almond cream and caramel coulis. Drop dead gorgeous stunner. Enough said.