Saturday, January 7, 2012

make-believe: the french laundry

One of my favorite Christmas gifts is a cookbook from my chef-hero of the moment, Thomas Keller. (The admiration was inspired by our four-hour meal at his restaurant Bouchon during our trip last fall to Vegas. Take a look at the charming decor below...)

To be completely honest, The French Laundry is more coffee table book than cookbook. It's devoted to the story, operation, and unapologetic perfectionism of the famed California restaurant. It has a lot of pictures and a few recipes, and the tiny text is filled with nuggest about perfect cooking technique.  It's a book to study and admire, learn from, and to achieve in small (modified) doses.  (Thanks, Mama C!)

My first Laundry project was the salmon tartare. It's all about fresh fish and attention to detail, but truly easy to do-- assuming, of course, that you skip the impossible "cornets" (like mini ice cream cones used to serve the salmon). You can see how someone braver than I made the cornets here:

I skipped them and went straight for the crostini alternative suggested by the chef himself.  No harm done.

I did not skip the sweet onion creme fraiche served along with it, and thank goodness! They were delicious together.

Here's everything you need to know to recreate this yummy appetizer.  (I recommend doubling it!)