My cooking partner, Ray
OK, think of an assignment so complicated you will surely get a headache–that is the Escoffier class. Pick up the book, Le Guide Culinare sometime and you’ll see what I mean. Escoffier is the first person to codify la grand cuisine, classic French cooking. We got a packet of “recipes” from Escoffier’s book and were assigned a partner. Together we had to produce the following:
See, I told you it was fun.
We then had to scan through pages of small print to figure out what the numbers represented. 3674: Cotelettes de Cailles d’Aumale, 4151: Oignons farcis
4161: Petis Pois a la flamande
Headache yet?
After figuring out we were really making quail with a mousselline forcemeat, layered and baked, peas and carrots, and a stuffed onion, we were off to the kitchen. Ray volunteered to make all the vegetables leaving me with the quail dish. I recognized mousseline as the awful thing I messed up in seafood class so I was worried.
I found the tiny quails in the walk-in and then started making the dish. Making anything with the meat from these little birds is a challenge but I managed to make a decent mousseline, layer it with seared quail breasts and mushrooms. It turned out right, a little overdone on the quail, but not bad considering I never saw or tasted this dish before. I actually thought is was a very flavorful dish and enjoyed the bite I tried.
Our other dishes were fairly good–a little underdone on the onion, a little overdone on the peas and carrots but good taste.
We were given a extra dish to make–a stuffed tomato. Having learned from the underdone onion, we cooked the tomato just right. I made the duxelles which were not quite brown enough but not too bad. Classmates made an assortment of strange looking dishes, some ok, some horrible tasting–not their fault. I loved Patti’s Pears Melba with raspberry puree and homemade ice cream. Yum.
I will not be making a lot of classic French food in the future. Way too time consuming for the finished product.