Tiffin Project

Weekend Cook – Fancy Pants

by Canucklehead on September 17, 2012

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You often hear that people who love food have a not so secret desire to be a professional chef. Well I don’t. I know enough about the crazy hours, the gruelling hands on work, and the precarioius finances of restaurants to know that I will never, ever, ever set foot into a professional kitchen.

That being said – who doesn’t dream of being able to cook like a chef? Well in my instance, the only thing I’ve mastered is monte au beurre. You can ask my hapless and heart burned dinner guests, me and butter are very good friends and I put it on everything. For the most part though, my home cooking definitely belongs at home: simple, not much to look at, but reasonably okay if given half a chance (huh, sounds like my teen aged years).

Once in very long while – I get ambitious with my cooking plans. I want to make some FANCY! Why? Who knows – but in the words of classic 80’s Europop – imagination, could make a man of you.

So sticking with this 80’s theme, what could be more retro than black and white food in puff pastry. Le voila – I decided to tackle Daniel Boulud’s Sea Scallops in Black Tie, made famous from his years at Le Cirque (how much more Bonfire of the Vanities could you get!?).

Sourcing the ingredients was surprsingly easy; a good Aussie black truffle (remarkably reasonably priced and pungent) from Mikuni Wild Harvest, fantastically plump local scallops from Finest At Sea, and wonderful puff pastry from the Gourmet Warehouse.

Though the overall dish was kinda fussy – each step was straight forward and undemanding, with lots of breaks in between (which I used for Skyrim video gaming, grown ups would more likely be partaking in some red wine or bourbon).

Scallops are sliced horizontally, with thin slices of black truffle in between.

The scallops are then wrapped in blanched spinach leaves.

Then the whole thing is encased in puff pastry and brushed with an eggwash.

Popped in a hot oven for 10 minutes – and lookit! How fancy! Sauced with an emulsion of vermouth, chicken broth, chopped left over truffles, and – yes – butter!

I mean, this dish is so 80’s you half expect a Delorean to come racing out when you cut through it. But for all my irony – the dish is delicous – and I feel proud of my foray into fancy cooking.

Here’s a tip. If you get your hot hands on a truffle – store it with some eggs for a few days (I placed mine in a tight mason jar in the fridge). Then, as your first course – softly scramble the eggs with loads of butter and a touch of cream. The scent of truffles is so pervasive yet subtle – it’ll knock you and your guests on your collective asses. It’s fantastic. Truffle oil will taste like Satan’s Spit to you from this point forward.

So there you go. It’s worth doing something really out there once in a while and stretch out of your comfort zone. Especially when something so tasty comes out of your efforts.

Mikuni Wild Harvest
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Finest At Sea Ocean Products
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Gourmet Warehouse
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As always, Canucklehead pays for everything himself. And when he says dinner guests – it’s usually his PNE stuffed animal collection all propped on little chairs.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

bc October 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm

You are such a fancy pants, your dinner guests are very lucky. Also, I wish you’d photographed these on gaudily gilded Versace plates.

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