Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium.

Today was my last cooking class in the current series at the
North Carolina Akworium in Manteo, N.C.

Chef Brett Owens of the Nags Head Restaurant, Prime Only,
presented the cooking demonstration.

Here's their web site:

Prime Only

Our menu:

Prime Only Caesar Salad, made from scratch, "tableside"
Blue Crab and Parmesan encrusted flounder
topped with a citrus blanche (sic) de beurre.
(I believe that would be beurre blanc.)

Here's the arrrussuppeee for the flounder:

4 6-oz. flounder fillets
1 pound crabmeat
1 egg
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
garlic powder (to taste)
2 oz. clarified butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine egg, melted clarified butter, garlic powder, and crab meat in
mixing bowl and mix by hand.
Add cheese and mix.
Add bread crumbs and mix again.
Spread a layer of the crab mixture on one side of the flounder fillet to cover the entire piece of fish.
Heat a non-stick saute pan and add butter.
Add the fillet with crab meat facing down.
Sear until brown, then flip and sear other side.
Place fish on baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes.

I'm sure I probably couldn't tell the difference between clarified and regular butter, but if you want to use clarified butter, heat your unsalted butter in a pan, then skim the white milk solids off that rise to the surface.
Then you have clarified butter.

Citrus "Blanch de Beurre" (sic)
(Citrus Beurre Blanc)

1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 pound unsalted butter

In a saute pan, combine wine, lemon juice and whipping cream
and reduce by half.
Lower the temperature, then whisk in the butter slowly until melted.

Here's the plated dish.
Now, I'm sick and my olfactory system is all screwed up, but I'm pretty sure I'd like this. I just can't taste it, darn it all.
Chef Owens didn't put any basil in it, as called for in the recipe.
Also, there is no fresh blue crab now. It's out of season. So he used pasteurized crab meat. I couldn't taste to begin with, so I asked Mr. Hawthorne if he could taste the crab meat and he couldn't either.
Make this dish when crab meat is in season.
Mr. H. loved the sauce.

Next up:

Prime Only Caesar Salad, made from scratch, "tableside."

Now, I don't know how else one would make Caesar Salad except from scratch,
but here you go.

Caesar Salad

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 small anchovie fillets
2 dashes tabasco sauce
4 dashes Lea and Perrins
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 large head of romaine lettuce torn
1 cup croutons

Now, apparently, Chef Owens doesn't make this often, since he's always cooking back in the kitchen. He even mentioned this fact (that he doesn't make this often) and apologized for it. And it was obvious, since he was referring to his notes with the ingredients, which are not in order.
I still liked him, though.
I can make Caesar Salad dressing in my sleep.

However, I digress.

Here are his instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, preferably wooden, mash the black pepper and the anchovies to form a paste.
Add one egg yolk.
Add mustard and garlic and mash together with the paste, making sure that the garlic gets crushed.
Add the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon and
whip until dressing gets frothy.
Add the lettuce and mix together in the bowl, then add croutons and squeeze the lemon juice on the salad and mix again.
Add more shredded Parmesan cheese.

And here's the lovely salad.

OK. Just let me say this.
I know Caesar Salad.
I make a kick ass Caesar Salad.
No one makes better Caesar Salad than I do,
except for Mr. Hawthorne.
That is all.

Now, I know I've already posted my Caesar Salad arrrussuupppee on this blog.
Go search for it and do a taste comparison.
For the record, there is NO comparison.

Oh, my homemade croutons kick ass too.
As in outoftheballpark.

OK, I don't mean to be bitchy or catty or anything.
I really liked this meal.
Mind you now, I am sick with a horrible cold and worse cough and probably tore something in my gut last night while I was coughing up my toes, but I'm sure the flounder tasted great. It looked good, and I liked the recipe. I will try the flounder, but will wait until I have REAL CRAB MEAT.

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering,
"What did Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne have for dinner tonight?"

Mr. Hawthorne thawed out the last two crab cakes left.
Perfect little rounds that he was so, so proud of.
He sauteed them, then plated them.

Perfectly seared crab cakes, with a mustard emulsion, basil/celery infused oil, paprika oil, and wasabi paste.

And like I told the girls today who were helping Chef Owens plate the dishes, "Don't be so damn stingy with that
Citrus Beurre Blanc!"

Bon appetit!

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