Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Perail de Brebis with Frisée aux Lardons

Work is still ridiculously busy, but I'm in a much better mood than my last post. Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement. This is a busy time of year in my business generally, and it's compounded by special circumstances and overlapping deadlines with a few of my clients, so I'm working 16-18 hours/day and not sleeping well in between. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, thankfully. Having these dishes to plan for and make has been helping me maintain my sanity. I think.

Making the Perail de Brebis with Frise aux Lardons was a breeze. Cheese and bacon? Sign me up. Add some brioche to that? I could've eaten all six servings myself. I already had quail eggs, bacon, chives, frisée and brioche from previous recipes, so the prep was easy. I assumed that Arrowine or Cheesetique would have the Perail de Brebis, but they didn't and it would've taken a week or more to get it. I called a few other cheese counters in town, but they didn't have the Perail or anything comparable so, I relied on my favorite standby cheese source: Murray's Cheese (in New York). A special thanks to the staff, who overnighted the Perail de Brebis, even though I called after their shipping deadline for the day. If you're ever in New York, I recommend a visit to Murray's. The staff is great, and the selection is amazing. Thanks, guys.

Here's the mise en place:

The first thing I did was cook the bacon and drain it on a paper towel.

Yeah, I know you know what bacon looks like when it's cooking, but I'm all in favor of gratuitous bacon porn, because after all, it is BACON!!!!

Next, I mixed the sherry vinegar, mustard and olive oil to make the dressing for the frisée. It's supposed to be separated-looking, because you stir in the olive oil with a spoon instead of emulsifying it with a whisk, and I think I achieved that:

As you recall from the previous post, I was too lazy/busy/annoyed to make Keller's brioche, so I used store-bought Brioche from Balducci's. This dish called for brioche rounds with a one-inch hole in the middle, and as you might have noticed in the mise photo, I started with a stack of slices. I cut my own rounds (with a knife, not a ring mold or cookie cutter) and cut out the holes with a paring knife. Not too shabby a job, eh?

It left me with some brioche crusts, so I'll make an improvised bread pudding, croutons, or something out of those later tonight.

The next thing I did was melt the butter in a large sauté pan and put the brioche rounds into it:

While they were turning a nice golden brown on one side, I mixed the frisée and minced chives, cracked a little bit of black pepper into the mix, and then tossed in a little bit of the dressing. Once the brioche had browned on one side, I flipped them, turned off the heat, and cracked a quail egg into the hole of each one.

I let them cook for a minute on the stovetop and then put them in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for another minute while I started plating. I put a little bit of salad on each plate and topped it with bacon. Next to that went two small wedges of the Perail. Last on the plate went the brioche with quail egg. Here's the final plating:

I had the usual cast of characters over for a tasting and we loved it. G., the 10-year old, walked into my house and called out, "I smell bacon!" The rind of the cheese was not a hit with the under-12 crowd, but they ate the insides and loved it. They also cleaned their plate of everything else. We all did. If you have the ingredients on-hand, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, this is something that is really simple to do. I know it's very similar to Bird-in-the-Nest or Eggs-in-Baskets, but I think the salad with bacon and the side of cheese adds a very nice touch. Oh, and did I mention the bacon, and how great it is? I did? Oh. Well, it is.

Up next: Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps

Brands Used:
All-Clad cookware
Wellshire Farms bacon
Grey Poupon dijon mustard
Benissimo sherry vinegar
Antica Italia extra virgin olive oil
Brioche from Balducci's
365 organic butter
Quail eggs, frisée and chives from H-Mart
Perail de Brebis from Murray's Cheese

Music to Cook By: The Bird and the Bee. This is a duo out of LA and their debut album is self-titled. Prior to this, they released an EP called "Again & Again" which is also the title of one of their catchiest songs. If I were to describe them, I'd say they sound like a futuristic 1960s lounge act with a somewhat Brazilian feel. Have a listen and let me know what you think.


JordanBaker said...

It looks so much more delicious than my recent attempt at Sandra's Prune-o Brownies. And I too am always in favor of porkographic pictures.

Jaye Joseph said...

Oh. My. God. Bacon? Brioche? Cheese? Holy crap, that's one I need to try. I admire you for being able to cook during such a stressful time. It's going to be at least another week before I get back in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

For the bacon lover in you:


Anonymous said...

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Wow -- this looks really good. And good usage of quail eggs and doing all the recipes in a row that required quail eggs. You must have to memorize the index of the cookbook to be able to do the planning for this blog.

Anonymous said...

indeed frisee aux lardons is wonderful to eat...looks great!