The Chef of the Century had a crowing Gallic Coq tattooed on his left arm, one he would often flaunt proudly. The rooster is the national bird of France. But could the tattoo also symbolize Paul Bocuse’s veneration for Poulet de Bresse?
Upon learning of the Chef’s passing on January 20th at 91 years-old, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that his death had chefs everywhere weeping in their kitchens.
Mais oui. Here too.
My love affair with “Chicken and Morels Paul Bocuse” began decades ago in Chicago at a long-gone restaurant named Bistro 110 where fricassée of chicken was served on a bed of fresh sautéed spinach with a morel cream sauce.
The combination was brilliant. The creamy mushroom sauce infused the sautéed spinach and turned it into a French version of steakhouse-creamed-spinach. The synergy of earthy-nutty morels and impeccably cooked chicken resulted in a timeless dish. It was rich but not overly so, it was balanced in the style that the Chef was known for…classic yet modern.
In 2011 when Paul Bocuse was named “Chef of the Century” by the Culinary Institute of America, Jacques Pépin said, “Certainly he did more than any other chef in the world that I can think of to bring the chefs in the dining room and to make the profession respectable and to make us who we are now…Now the chefs are stars and it’s because of Paul Bocuse.”
For my birthday, I hosted a luncheon in honor of the Chef and served Chicken Fricassée inspired by him. Here is my recipe.
I’m a bit embarrassed to showcase three hot soups in a row because the weather this winter in Southern California has been absolutely beautiful.
Yes, we would love more rain for our thirsty environment, but we keep seeing sunny 70°F + days… week after week. So, my Chicago family and friends and everyone Back East with shovels in hand, I am dedicating these three soups to you. Stay warm kids!
The crimini mushroom, also known as baby bella, is actually a young portobella. They are earthy and more flavorful than common white button mushrooms, therefore an excellent choice for mushroom soup. When paired with velvety rich and tangy crème fraîche, the result is a heavenly bowl of warming potage, no matter the outside temperature.
“Our black truffle sauce is made of Black truffles (tuber aestivum), harvested in the beautiful Piemont region in Italy. Only best quality black truffles are hand selected by experts before confectioning in jars to be tasted all year long. To create this amazing sauce, we are using artisan methods as well as high quality raw materials.”
Black Truffle Sauce from my friends at Gourmet Attitude is made with mushroom, olive oil, truffle, carrot, onion, salt, aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, and walnuts. The addition of Black Truffle Sauce to a humble mushroom flatbread transforms it into an intoxicating slice of heaven.
The flatbread is heated just long enough for the cheeses to melt and the edges to get a little crispy allowing the Black Truffle Sauce to release its heady aromas and intensify the robust earthy flavors.
Radicchio and Sautéed Mushroom Salad with Frisee, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Toasted Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins Garlic Chives, Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
Deeper colors, warm earthy mushrooms, and crisp bitter lettuces make this a perfect salad to serve as we transition into Fall. Creamy pungent blue cheese and rich toasted pine nuts harmonize with the smooth flavors of a fine balsamic vinaigrette. And to bring the entire salad into balance, golden raisins add the perfect touch of sweetness.
Speaking of balance, today, the earth will be rotating upright on its axis. The northern and southern hemispheres will have equal sunlight and the sun will be rising due east, and setting due west. Happy Autumnal Equinox!
It’s almost summer and thin is in! Thin vegetables, that is. A mandoline slicer can help turn a fennel bulb and common white mushrooms into a graceful salad or side dish. Pretty paper-thin watercress leaves add a bold peppery flavor. Their deep green color contrasts the pale fennel, mushroom, and cheese. Walnuts bring nutty, earthy flavors and a crunchy texture. Dressed with fruity olive oil and balsamic syrup, the final dish has a synergistic elegance beyond its everyday components.
My friends in the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group have made some major changes to the iconic green bean casserole this year. Major. For our monthly challenge we’ve taken the classic casserole recipe, originally made with green beans, mushroom soup, and fried onions and turned it ON ITS HEAD. There are soups, quiche, gnocchi, pancakes, and catfish ~ some have a Latin twist, another Asian, some are modern, some deconstructed, others retro. It’s a virtual cornucopia of casserole makeover creativity. And you can view all the incarnations of this most loved/hated Thanksgiving dish in the world over at Lazaro Cooks here.
Here I remake the casserole into a bite-sized morsel which conjures up of all the memories of mom’s holiday dish but with a fresh twist and pair it with another one of our holiday traditions ~ fresh oysters.
Original Recipe Ingredients:
cream of mushroom soup
ground black pepper
canned french fried onions
In this makeover, mushrooms are stuffed with earthy mushroom duxelles and a rich olive oil bechamel flavored with tamari. Bright steamed haricots verts are sliced thin and sit atop the mushrooms. Panko crusted fresh Fanny Bay oysters are fried in canola oil until crisp, then seasoned with truffle salt. Finally, frizzled leeks add texture and are an update to those canned fried onions .
The unique woodsy aroma of the matsutake (pine mushroom) is what inspired this preparation en papillote. To tear open the parchment at the table and breathe, is to inhale Autumn in the Pine Forest. Just a few rosemary leaves and a restrained pinch of ground cinnamon enhance the earthy spice aromas of the matsutake. Butter gives the meaty mushroom a rich creamy mouthfeel and slight nutty flavor while sake adds a bit of moisture, balanced acidity and complex umami flavors.