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).
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.
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.