Week 6: Thursday, Death to lobsters

My lecture today was on Caviar and then Chef Dale followed with a demo on lobster dispatching (I had never heard of this term before working here) but basically it is a lobster slaughter and dismantle session. Now, that is something that I can get excited about. There was a never a time in my culinary career that I ever felt squeamish about jamming a knife right into the frontal lobe (though technically there is no lobe) of this crustacean, but having taught it so many times I am acutely aware of the raw discomfort many feel committing this necessary act involved in the consumption of this fine tasting species. Remember that in every meal which involves eating a dead animal there is complicity and maybe there would be a lot less people choosing to eat animal protein if they actually had to raise it and kill it before eating it. This is how disconnected most are when it comes to the natural order of the food chain. Respect the creature that gives its life for our nourishment, don’t take it for granted anddon’t think that if you are far enough removed from its death that you are not part of it.Today was a marvelous food day. GM made a beautiful batch of Oysters Rockefeller. A beautiful mound of wilted seasoned spinach topped with a plump oyster and topped with first a layer of Mornay sauce and then a layer of Mornay combined with a hollandaise. All this was delicately roasted in the oven and finished under the salamander to give it a nice glaze.img_0206.jpgYou probably can’t tell that we are fond of bacon here can you?Hot line spent a long time cooking the lobster shells with various aromatics and stocks. We ground the shells and then cooked them longer and then food milled them and cooked them some more, then we passed them through a fine mesh chinois and took that flavorful liquid and reduced it further. Now it is ready for butter. We whisked in a 1/2 lb. of butter and adjusted the seasoning. Meanwhile David (sniper boy) made a batch of beurre fondue that we poached the lobster tails and claws in (Thomas Keller method). We folded roasted red pepper confetti brunoise and lobster coral into a batch of rice pilaf and molded it onto the plate.img_0208.jpgFor dessert Alicia came up with a unique concoction of a frozen curry mousse served with a coconut soup and topped with candied ginger. Very interesting flavors that definitely cleaned the palate. Overall it was a truly great tasting meal .img_0209.jpg

Week 6: Wednesday, Shellfish and whole roasted fish

My big lecture for the day was on the world of Shellfish. Homarus Americanus (Maine lobster), crabs, shrimp, crayfish, scallops, oysters, clams, geoducks. mussels, squid and octopus. A vast world of delicious amino filled underwater lusciousness.For the following two days GM worked on some of the classic American shellfish applications. Today Clams Casino and tomorrow Oysters Rockefeller. The French aren’t too big on gussing up their clams and oysters with sauces or imparting heat to them. They like their shellfish raw and with lemon or mignonette. I think both of these applications are wonderful and full of flavor if done properly. We set the table up for a fancy meal.img_0201.jpg
I took a picture of the whole fish before we stuffed them and roasted them.
The idea of the dish was to get the students to learn how to debone a whole cooked fish and for them to understand how much more juicy a whole cooked fish is. This is a very common technique in Europe. Bocuse has built his reputation on his famous whole sea bass en croute. These fish were roasted in the combi at 375º at 10% humidity for 10 minutes on a bed of mirepoix. That oven is amazing.We served the farm raised stripped bass (acquacultured in Alamosa Colorado) with pureed potatoes mixed with a creamy mushroom duxelle and a sweet garlic cream sauce.
The fish was succulent and well seasoned. The Duxelle potatoes were wonderfully earthy and of course laden with butter and cream.To cap off a great meal pastry made chocolate soufflé and served it with crème anglaise and raspberry coulis.
A great day.