Seattle's Francophile chefs say you have two choices for celebrating Julia Child's centennial tomorrow: Make reservations, or make boeuf bourguignon.
Geoff Smith, LookatLao Studios Rover's boeuf bourguignon
Asked for recommendations for an accessible, rewarding first dish to cook out of Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, chefs overwhelming selected her three-page recipe for an ultra-sophisticated beef stew. (While the recipe's too lengthy to reproduce here, Knopf Doubleday has uploaded a PDF here, along with the necessary auxiliary instructions for sauteing mushrooms and braising onions.)
"The dish asks the cook to execute many of the basic techniques which are critical to successful French cooking," Marche's Daisley Gordon explains. "The techniques are not difficult, but they do require a bit of patience and discipline, to not skip, omit or rush ahead. I think the pay-off is exceptional."
Read on for more on the chefs' choices, and - on the off-chance that messing with beef stock and bacon doesn't sound celebratory - a list of local restaurant dinners saluting Child's contributions to modern cookery.
"Boeuf Bourguignon is beef stew 'all grown up.'Instead of boiling all the ingredients together in a pot and producing something just passable, the cook is able to reap the benefits of giving careful attention to the individual components. Also, once the cooking is finished, it holds up well and it can be a great centerpiece for a party with friends or family - a chance to share all the details of how you conquered this classic French dish."
-- Daisley Gordon, executive chef, Marche
"It came to mind right away. When I think of this dish, I can't stop thinking about listening to her pronounce the name."
-- Gavin Stephenson, executive chef, The Fairmont Olympic
"When you see the passion that Julia has when she makes that beef stew, it makes you salivate through the entire process! From the red wine marinade to the addition of the garniture towards the end, I could almost taste the flavors. She was so enthusiastic and put the dish together with such care. We try to do the same at LUC, which I attribute to why it is one of our most popular dishes."
Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Shallots and Tomato
"This is a wonderful simple recipe and the perfect time of year for it in the Northwest as our wild king salmon are running and the garden is full of heirloom tomato varieties."
-- Chris Zarkades, executive chef, Margaux, The Warwick Seattle
Yield: 1 fillet, serving 1
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
1 skinless salmon fillet, 6 to 8 oz
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon very finely minced shallots (or scallions)
½ cup diced fresh tomato garnish
Whole leaves of flat-leaf parsley, about a dozen
Special equipment: a sheet of parchment paper, about 20 inches by 15 inches; a cookie sheet
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Smear the butter in the very center of the parchment paper.
3. Season each side of the salmon with a big pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, and lay the salmon, its most attractive side up, on the buttered area of the paper.
4. Mix the minced shallots and tomato together and spread on top of the salmon fillet. Scatter the parsley leaves over and around the fish.
5. Lift the shorter (15-inch) sides of the parchment so the edges meet right above the salmon, like a tent.
6. Fold over several times, then fold the sides together. Crimp the folds tightly with your fingers, or use several pins at the end to seal the package completely.
7. Set the package on the cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes for a fillet less than an inch thick, or 10 minutes for a thick fillet 1 to 1 ¼ inches thick.
8. To serve, carefully transfer the package to a dinner plate, remove the pins if you have used them, and simply unfold or cut the parchment open. If you'd rather remove the package before eating, cut or tear the paper alongside the fillet, and slide the fish right onto the plate.
Souffle aux Fromage
"At first glance, this seems pretty impossible, but it is actually very doable and uses a lot of techniques that will help the home cook in future cooking endeavors. Plus, the home cook will feel like a bad ass having completed it - so, total confidence builder!"
-- Jason Stoneburner, executive chef, Bastille
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
For the souffle sauce base:
A 6-cup souffle mold (basically a gigantic ramekin)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup of milk
2 shakes of Mrs. Dash
A pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper
5 egg whites
4 egg yolks
1 cup of cheese, grated
(For the sauce part of this recipe-a basic bechamel sauce-it is best to use a double boiler, but we made our own by putting a smaller saucepan in to a bigger one filled with water. That way the butter and flour mixture melts because of the hot water but doesn't burn.)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Butter the inside of the souffle dish and sprinkle with a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs on the bottom and sides so that the souffle doesn't stick.
3. Melt butter entirely over moderate heat (in your double boiler or makeshift one), then add flour and stir together until it is cooked but NOT browned. Then, add hot milk, whisking it in until it thickens.
4. Add spices and stir. Remove from heat, and beat the yolks into the sauce with a wisk.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until they are light and frothy. Until they stand up in peaks, as my mom says.
6. Fold in 3 heaping tablespoons of the frothy egg whites into the white sauce, then carefully fold in the cheese and the rest of the egg whites. Do this delicately so that the egg whites don't collapse.
7. Pour the mixture in your buttered and breaded souffle dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
All events are tomorrow night unless otherwise specified.
Diners who order the tasting menu at Michael Mina's restaurant will be entered in a raffle to win copies of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I and Bob Spitz's new biography of Julia Child, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child.
Tasting menu $65
Wine pairings $34/$62
Cauliflower Royale, Black Truffle Vinaigrette
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Hearts of Palm, Celery, French Dressing
Grilled Lamb Chops
Raspberry and Fig Crostata
Reservations may be made online or by phone.
The tasting menu at LUC is available tonight and tomorrow night.
Tasting menu $35
Wine pairings $25
Salade Lyonnaise or Quiche Lorraine
Sole Meunière or Poulet àl'Ail
Tarte à la Frangipane et aux Abricots or Gâteau de Chocolate et Caramel
Boeuf bourguignon is $27 tonight and tomorrow night.
The four-course menu will be served from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Reservations are required.
Tasting menu $35
Wine pairings $15
Butter Lettuces, Albacore, Nicoise Olives, French Potatoes, Tomatoes and Anchovies
Roast Duck Breast with Chanterelles, Pearl Onions and Potato Anna
Chocolate Almond Cake
The Warwick Hotel's dining room is serving its three-course menu throughout the month of August.
Tasting menu $36
Wine pairings $15
Tuna Nicoise salad
Orange and Almonds Cupcake
Rover's is serving its tribute menu tonight and tomorrow.
Tasting menu $65
Wine pairings $45
Country Style Pate with accouterments
Bourride a la Rover's
Vacherin, Summer Berry Compote