We have a love of cookbooks; some may even call it an addiction to them. They are such a fascinating insight to the minds of Chefs, the creativity of different cooks, and the inside running of restaurants. When Chef Jaime and I eat at different restaurants, we tend to collect it's cookbook for our collection. After we had one of the top meals of our life at Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York City, we obtained his cookbook for his first restaurant The French Laundry.
This beautiful book is a fine selection of images, recipes, and knowledge. It shows passion and participation in every process of the creation of a beautiful dish. The simplicity of the dishes is surprising, but it's the care and time that goes into every element that truly makes this collection of recipes phenomenal when you make them. Rest assured, none of these dishes will be ones you can make without dedicating a full day (or even weekend) to, but each bite will be worth the time and effort.
It can be a bit daunting to pick up a recipe from a chef the caliber of Thomas Keller (fangirling a bit- he's incredible), but the instructions throughout this book are detailed, thorough, and thoughtful. It absolutely does take time and patience to create these dishes, but they are achievable in your home kitchen. Sometimes special equipment is needed (an ice cream machine, for example), but generally not. We chose to highlight a lobster dish from this book (mostly because, yes please lobster every time!). You can see from the recipe it won't be repeatable here, as you have to refer back to other recipes to make it (I'll include where other recipes are found throughout the book with page numbers in the ingredients list itself if you are able to pick up a copy). You can get a good sense of this book's simplicity and an understanding of how this collection of recipes works by reading through it, and I hope it encourages you to peruse a copy or try it for yourself!
"Macaroni and Cheese"
Makes 6 Servings
2 cups creamy Lobster Broth (page 35)
1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 Tablespoons mascarpone
Three 1 1/2-2-pound lobsters, "Steeped" and meat removed (see page 124; reserve knuckle meat for another use)
1 1/2 cups Beurre Monte (page 135)
1 Tablespoon minced chives
Coral oil (page 167, in a squeeze bottle)
6 Parmesan crisps (page 37)
Place the lobster broth in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the broth to a sauce consistency; you should have 1 to 1.25 cups. Set aside in the pan.
Cook the orzo in boiling lightly salted water until just tender. Drain the cooked pasta in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake the strainer to remove excess water and add the orzo to the lobster broth.
To Complete: If the lobster pieces have been refrigerated, bring them to room temperature.
Heat the orzo and lobster broth to a simmer. Add the mascarpone and season with salt to taste. Let simmer for a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place the lobster pieces in one layer in a large saucepan. Pour in the beurre monte: the lobster should be almost covered. Heat gently to warm the lobster.
Stir the chives into the orzo. Pipe a 2-inch circle of coral oil in the centre of each serving dish. Place about 1/3 cup of orzo in the center of the oil, allowing it to spread the oil out into a larger circle. Arrange a piece of lobster tail and a claw in the center of the orzo and top each serving with a Parmesan crips.