Ahi Tuna Tartare w/ Avocado, Crispy Shallots & Soy-Sesame Dressing (..and a little update)

If you think you’ve seen this before, you’re absolutely right. I originally posted this recipe in 2008 and the old photo is still in regular rotation in the banner. I’m re-posting this recipe today to talk about a little technical issue. Ready? I deleted by mistake a whole bunch of photos that were hosted on my old blog server (oops!). I didn’t notice right away but I received a few emails from watchful readers to notify me of the broken links, so I thought I should give you a little update. It will take me a little while to re-shoot the recipes from the 2007-2008 period but the good news is that in the end we’ll have brand new photography from the beginning (some of those early ones were taken with a camera phone and really left to be desired). Now somebody keep me from tweaking with the controls again, please.

If you haven’t seen this recipe and just discovering it today, well… all the better. It’s been a popular recipe inspired by Laurent Tourondel of BLT, and it makes a really easy, impressive and delicious appetizer. Ahi tuna tartare sitting on avocado, and topped with crispy shallots (mixed with rice crispies!.. shhh) and a soy-sesame vinaigrette. Use a cube pastry mold for a really striking presentation. Enjoy!

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Turbans of Langoustines with Shellfish Consommé & Bottarga

Iconic restaurants never die. One of them is Jamin, which I once had the chance to visit while attending cooking school in Paris. At the time, Joel Robuchon’s Jamin was recognized as one of the best restaurant in the world, and one of the most feared kitchen to enter. I remember some dishes from this short visit like a chicken liver mousse with chicken consommé custard, I remember crisp rouget fillets were served with crispy basil and tomato concassé, pigeon cooked with foie-gras, and of course the world’s best mashed potatoes. I remember the atmosphere of doom and genius in the kitchen, also. A langoustine wrapped in a spaghetti ‘turban’ and white truffles was so incredible to look at that I took a mental picture that I kept until now.

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Roast Chicken “stuffed under the skin”

Like many chefs, what I crave on a day off is the comfort of a simple roast chicken. However, in this blog you probably noticed we aren’t in the business of keeping it that simple, are we? Stuffing it under the skin is a great way to infuse more flavor into a chicken while keeping the breast meat moist and the skin crispy. The delicious stuffing consists of sauteed mushrooms, chestnuts and pine nuts deglazed with Cognac and mixed with panko, herbs and butter. You could pull out all the stops and replace the wild mushrooms with black truffle and foie gras but let’s keep it budget friendly for now. If you just won the lottery by all mean, go for the black truffle, you won’t be disappointed.

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Green Tea Cream Puffs

I had the nice surprise to be selected for the ‘Site we Love’ feature of SAVEUR magazine this month. Amazing! You can read my interview here. Thank you all for all your good words. I was going to post a different recipe today but I figured we need to celebrate with something sweet that everybody loves.

Ah, the magic of cream puffs. My very first kitchen triumph when I was about 14 years old. That’s when I gave myself the challenge to make choux à la crème for a holiday dinner and everyone, including my parents, doubted it would work. I remember sitting in front of the oven, peeking through the oven window smiling from cheek to cheek as I saw the mounds of of pâte à choux rising tall. I held my breath and crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t fall flat. When the cooking time was up I opened the oven door and here they were, perfectly puffed and golden. I filled them with a crème chantilly and I was hooked for life.

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Scallop Crudo with Shiso & Yuzu Oils and Pink Peppercorn

I was cleaning up some old photos on my hard drive when I realized I posted this scallop crudo a while ago as part of project food blog but I never wrote a recipe for it. Crudo in general don’t need recipe since it consists of the freshest seafood money can buy with a squeeze of citrus juice and a drizzle of high quality olive oil. I played with this concept a little bit and made shiso and yuzu oils to enliven the pristine sea scallops. One with an herbal, grassy tone and the other one with the bright floral aroma of my favorite citrus, yuzu. The fruity and mildly peppery flavor of pink peppercorn fits perfectly here, and so does the mineral complexity of Fleur de Sel. This is how, with only a few simple components, you can make a dish worth of a fancy restaurant.

Since the ingredients are few, the key to success of any crudo is the quality and freshness of the ingredients. So don’t skimp on the good stuff. And your guests will think you’ve gotten an expensive culinary education.

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