August 16, 2009

Another Shot at The French Laundry Cookbook

So, this weekend I dove back into The French Laundry cookbook. It had been a month or so since I chased Thomas Keller's genius; you may remember Lobster Mac and Cheese, and the French Laundry menu meals.

Tonight, I went after Keller's Olive Oil Poached Salmon over Confit of Navel Oranges and Pea Shoot Coulis. This dish was surprisingly difficult, there were little details (getting a smooth pea shoot coulis and poaching in olive oil), that almost broke me. In the end, though, this dish was off-the-flipping-charts good. It was summer on a plate. The combination of textures was unreal. Yum-o.

A little confit of navel oranges. Translation: navel orange segments "set" in a simple syrup. Yep. That's it.
The pea shoot coulis was tough; mine came out a bit too chunky. Tasty, but not the buttery viscous concoction Keller can render.
The final product; topped with chopped chives and whitefish caviar. The intricate play of flavor and texture was just crazy. Oil-poached salmon has a heavenly texture that melted in the mouth with the sweet oranges and slightly peppery coulis.
Wow. I'll make this again.

The wine: 2005 Arcadian Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow. Not cheap, $40 from Arcadian, but worth every penny.

2005 Arcadian Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (8/16/2009)This wine manages to balance the hints of oak and buttery goodness with a bracing acidity that really sharpens the edges. Buttered popcorn and honey up front give way to slate and a long, lively finish. Just a pleasure really. I'm going to try, try to not touch anymore for a year so. yeah, right.


  1. Dang. Beats my "hot dogs a la baked beans"

    I need to try that Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chard. I heard that vineyard is diseased (I want to say it's original rootstock infested with phylloxera), so the berries are getting smaller and smaller. Eventually, the vines will die, but for now, the small berries have such great, concentrated fruit.

  2. Salmon looks great. I haven't tried that one yet, but just looked at your other french laundry post - that "sea bass w saffron" is a killer dish and among the relatively simpler ones in the book. I've done it with black sea bass - - and with red snapper - , both turned out great. The sauce is dangerously good.

  3. Joe-You must try the Arc Sleepy Chard. They age well, had a 2000 back in May that was delicious.

    Brad-Awesome shots. That sauce is crazy. It is one of my faves from the book-as you say not too tough, but impressive for the sauce alone.
    Thanks for the comments guys.