Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Supper #12: Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Jean-Georges. The name says everything to a foodie. I knew this dinner was oging to be a challenge, but I was confident it would be worth it - and it was! For this last supper, Jean-Georges listed a number of Asian dishes: Shaved tuna with Chili tapioca, Asian pear and lime lobster roll, Char-grilled chicken with kumquat lemongrass, Red Curry Duck, and Fried rice. I found online recipes for his very own Red Curry Duck as well as a recipe for Asian pear lobster rolls, so I served those with a side of steamed Jasmine rice.

The lobster rolls were unlike any lobster roll you're imagining. First, I steamed a fresh Maine lobster. Jeff cleaned it and then I tossed the meat with a dressing of a little mayo, some sriracha, Miso, lime juice, paprika and cilantro. This was then rolled in thinly sliced pieces of Asian pear which had been soaked in a bit of rice vinegar. Alongside I served a light salad of fresh mint, Thai basil, cilantro and a bit of escarole. Some of my pear slices cracked a bit, but these were delicious. A little spicy, a little sweet.

The main course was interesting to prepare since I have never worked with duck before. I found a whole duckling at my local Asian market which I cut into pieces myself. I browned it and them made the sauce according to the chef's recipe. I cut the amount of chicken stock in half because I like a thicker sauce. It was still a bit thin so I stuck my good old immersion blender into the pot to blend in some of the bits of carrot and lemongrass, making it a bit thicker. The duck legs were delicious. The breat meat got a bit overcooked. If I make this again, I think I'll use all legs.

I considered skipping the pineapple puree on top. Jeff isn't a big fan of pineapple so I thought it'd be a waste. But I did it anyway in an effort to stay true to the recipe and I'm glad I did. This currey would have been outstanding on its own, but the drizzle of pureed ripe pineapple took it to a whole new level. Amazing!
Like the rest of the world, I expect great things from Chef Vongerichten and his Last Supper didn't disappoint. As I approach the halfway mark of my project, I'm starting to think about whose restaurant in NYC I want to go to if I finish. Perhaps one of Jean-Georges's? There are simply too many choices! We'll see if I make it and them decide!

12 down, 28 to go. Next up: Heading south of the border with Rick Bayless!

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