Chefs, Cooking

New to the Menu: Chef’s Notes

SHED’s culinary director Miles Thompson satisfies staff curiosity about new menu items by regularly writing up the ingredients and methods he uses when offering new dishes. This recent post, sent around for a May 16, 2015, kitchen refresh, is so thoughtful and explanatory that we considered it shame to keep it just for ourselves. Here, then, are his notes.
Roasted German Butterball Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary – $8
Baby or Size ‘C’ German Butterball potatoes are cut and boiled in salted water to the point that they just begin to break down and collapse at their corners.  They are then removed from the pot, drained and tossed aggressively with roasted garlic oil and raw rosemary needles to slightly crush and ‘rough up’ the potatoes, causing them to have a matted, starchy appearance.  They are then laid out on a sheet tray and chilled overnight to set/gelatinize the starch that we activated by tossing them around.  The next day they are tossed with roasted garlic oil and roasted in the 700-degree wood oven until crispy before being placed in a Cafe au Lait bowl and served.
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Chilled Soup of Young Root Vegetables, Strawberries and Early Season Summer Squash – $8
This soup is a rather involved process.  Large white turnips are roasted in a foil package with butter, Banyuls vinegar, salt, and cloves until just tender, and then cooled in the packages. The cloves are removed and the cooking liquid is strained and saved. The turnips are shredded and cooked in vegetable stock made with Kombu Dahsi (instead of filtered water) long with shredded Kohlrabi until tender. While this is cooking, red Tropea spring onions are blanched and chopped before being added to the pot. Once everything is together in the pot, it is all pureed with salt and filtered through a cheesecloth. Once filtered, this ‘Turnip Broth’ is pureed with roasted carrots and Kombu Dashi before being strained twice. The dish is composed by laying seven pieces of trimmed Albion strawberries into a bowl with five diamonds of Costata di Romanesco summer squash (marinated in and roasted with lemon balm, Aleppo pepper, pink peppercorns, salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and flamed sake), the soup is poured over this composition and then garnished with finely cracked, toasted black pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, fried wild rice, and bronze fennel fronds.
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Tete de Cochon with Green Strawberries, Szechuan Chili Oil and Salted Plum Vinegar – $10
‘Tete de Cochon’ translates to ‘pig’s head.’ We have brined the pig’s head with water, maple syrup, honey, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, black peppercorns, nutmeg, coriander seeds, and chili flakes for two days prior to braising it in water, white wine, thyme, black peppercorns, and mirepoix.  The head is cooled in the liquid prior to being picked into muscle groups, which are then diced into cubes before being set in the reduced cooking liquid fortified with gelatin.  It is then pressed overnight and allowed to set up into a sliceable terrine.  The dish is composed by laying the pressed pig’s head terrine onto Greek yogurt smoked over hickory wood.  The terrine is seasoned with Szechuan chili oil (neutral oil that is heated and poured over Szechuan peppercorns, chili flakes, shallots, and scallions before bring aged for three days then strained), green garlic mustard (raw green garlic and spring onions, golden Balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt), and cracked black pepper. A raw green strawberry is scattered over the seasoned terrine and the dish is finished with red frill mustard that is dressed in a vinaigrette made of salted plum vinegar, hazelnut oil, and pomegranate molasses.
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Yellow Curry Braised Chicken Leg with Udon and Soured Mustards – $16
An organic chicken leg (leg and thigh combination) is marinated overnight with a puree of cilantro, Chile de Arbol, lime juice, palm sugar, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, chile flakes, and fish sauce before being rinsed and braised in a Burmese-style curry consisting of a house-made yellow curry paste (cilantro, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander, Chile de Arbol, palm sugar, shrimp paste), fish sauce, chicken stock, and coconut milk.  The leg is reheated in the braise in the oven before being set on top of Udon noodles that have been heated and dressed with a shrimp vinaigrette (palm sugar, shrimp vinegar, ponzu, lime juice, and fish sauce) and garnished with shaved red onions, cilantro leaves, candied grapefruit zest, chile flakes, and fermented Komatsuna (a mustard green).
Spaetzle with Morel Mushrooms, Spring Vegetables and Green Garlic Cream – $18
Our spaetzle refers to a German dumpling that is made by vigorously beating all-purpose flour with whey, eggs, salt, and nutmeg until bubbly before pressing through a perforated pan into boiling water to form small, abstract dumplings. The dumplings are cooked until they just float and then are removed to a large vessel of water to cool before being drained and tossed with a spring garlic cream (heavy cream gently cooked with spring onions, spring garlic, and black pepper before being blended with shredded Gruyere), a morel ragout (morels cooked with spring onions, spring garlic, butter, salt, black pepper, whey, marjoram, thyme, and parlsey), fava beans, peas, and asparagus before being topped with Gruyere cheese and shaved spring onion tops and baked in the wood oven to a delicious bubble.  The spaetzle is served with a small salad of pea tendrils and red frill mustard dressed with Meyer lemon vinaigrette (Meyer lemon juice, salt, sugar, diced shallot, and blended oil).
Our cafe embraces summer with longer hours. We’re now open until 9pm each night through the season. Come in soon and try some of Miles’ new creations!
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