Showing posts with label Eric Ripert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eric Ripert. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cod with Coconut Curry Sauce

by Sheila Connolly

It was a year ago that my sister and I made a pilgrimage to New York City, which included a sumptuous luncheon at Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Le Bernardin (which I reported on here). Sigh.

This week I found myself contemplating a pound of fish and trying to figure out what to do with it. I turned to Epicurious online, and lo and behold, up popped a 2005 recipe by mon ami Eric, titled “Cod with Coconut, Lime, and Lemongrass Curry Sauce.” It had to be fate.

As luck would have it, I had almost all the ingredients on hand (except the lime leaves—had some but they expired from old age). Eric’s recipe was a wee bit high end (he is much into elegant presentation), but easy to simplify. And the sauce or broth or whatever you want to call it is delicious!

Note: It’s just my husband and me at home these days, so I usually make two-serving recipes (except for desserts!). Most cookbook recipes will feed at least four people. I promise I won’t give you any recipes that don’t multiply easily.

Cod with Coconut Curry Sauce


1 Tblsp butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced (I didn’t have
   fresh, but I did have some in a jar)
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves (if you can find them)
1 Tblsp Madras curry
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cilantro sprigs
Sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 Tblsp fresh lime juice

During the first simmer

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves and curry and cook slowly without browning, for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and cilantro and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if needed.  Strain the liquid through fine sieve and set aside.

All in, before straining


A pound of hake (okay, raw fish isn't much
to look at--but this is how much you need)

2 filets of white fish, 1-1/2” thick (the original recipe used cod, but hake was what I had—it worked just fine. Flounder might be too delicate.)
2 Tblsp canola or vegetable oil
Sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste

Pat the fish filets dry and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sauté until lightly browned, turning once. It shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes total.

(Confession: After this point Eric’s instructions were much more complicated, but this method works just fine. I do want to share his final detail:  cook the fish “until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in the fish for 5 seconds, feels hot when touched to your lip.” Yes, dear friends, he’s kissing the skewer.)

When ready to serve, reheat the sauce and add the lime juice to brighten the flavor.

In the original recipe, this was served in a deep bowl flanked by quartered baby bok choy poached in a whole lot of butter, topped with the sauce. Instead I made rice, then laid the fish over the rice and poured the sauce over both. Much easier. Serve with a spoon, because you’re going to want to finish all the sauce!

You do know what a privy is, right? It's probably exactly what you think it is, and there's one that's been uncovered in the basement of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society (don't worry, it hasn't been used for more than a century). But what's found inside triggers a murder and leads to solving a much earlier double murder.

Privy to the Dead (Museum Mystery #6), coming June 2015, and available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble now.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Simply the Best

by Sheila Connolly

Here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen we write about food, because we enjoy cooking and we hope that other people enjoy our recipes. We try to provide a range of recipes, from simple to elaborate; we offer options such as gluten-free, low fat and sometimes vegetarian. We might lean just a bit toward desserts.

But this week I want to share the extraordinary experience of visiting one of
New York’s finest restaurants, Le Bernardin, for lunch. That august source Wikipedia says “Le Bernardin…has been ranked among the best restaurants in the world by culinary magazines and S. Pellegrino's annual list of "The World's 50 Best Restaurants". It holds the maximum ratings of four stars from The New York Times and three stars from the Michelin Guide.” The place has been on my bucket list for years, and I think you can see why I wanted to go.  

But I seldom get to New York, and I rarely indulge myself in high-end restaurants, beyond pressing my nose to the window and reading the menu and drooling. Blame this on my sister: she decided she was treating herself to a Birthday Bash in the Big Apple, and I went along for company. She picked some of the stops, like the New York Public Library (mostly because of the scene I’ve forgotten in Sex and the City)—and I picked the restaurants. Worked out just fine, once she got past the idea that the restaurant of my choice serves only seafood, and that in most cases it is barely cooked (the menu categories are: Almost Raw, Barely Touched, and Lightly Cooked). To our mutual surprise, she liked it!

It doesn’t hurt that the master chef, Éric Ripert, is a grown-up (although just a bit younger than I), not some weedy kid playing with molecular gastronomy. He’s also written a wonderful book, On the Line, which explains how a restaurant works, and I’ve read it cover to cover. Oh, and he has a killer French accent. No, alas, I did not meet him, but I met his food. Close enough.

The interior (small, isn't it?), with my sister.
Notice we cleared the place.
If this were a restaurant review, I would analyze the ambiance, the service, and the dishes (presentation, flavor, creativity and so on). They were all amazing. Incredible. Exquisite. Words fail me. Luckily I’m not a reviewer, and I was there to enjoy myself, not to take notes. But I could not resist taking pictures, and of course I have to share them. (If you wish to torture yourself with the menu, click here.)

My appetizer: octopus!

My sister's appetizer: risotto on a bed of
thinly sliced artichoke heart, topped with
a slice of truffle

Most people will never have the chance to eat in a restaurant like Le Bernardin. Heck, for the cost of a meal there you could probably feed a small village in a third-world country for a week. But it’s nice to know what we’re aiming for when we cook, or at least what it is possible to do with food to make eating a memorable experience. In hindsight I realized I’ve been saving my pennies and taking myself to renowned restaurants for most of my life—at the rate of one per decade. The Russian Tea Room in New York when I was in high school; The Ritz in London for high tea, and the Tour d’Argent in Paris; Le Bec-Fin (closed) in Philadelphia; Lutèce in New York (alas, now gone), with my husband; Chez Panisse in Berkley (we took our daughter to the café there for her first birthday). And that’s the whole lifetime list. But each lived up to my expectations, and I cherish the memories. It was worth it each time.

My entree: skate
(my sister's entree picture never happened,
since we were so busy inhaling the food)
There is no earthly way I will attempt to recreate one of Éric Ripert’s dishes, so no recipe. But here are the pictures. Each dish is presented as a work of art (almost but not quite too pretty to eat). The server brings a small pitcher of the appropriate sauce and adds it only when the plate is set in front of you, so nothing gets soggy. Each component in a dish is carefully placed. Everything is wonderful: the flavors, the textures, the colors, the napkins, the butter, the guy who shows up with a tray with nine (yes, really) kinds of bread (I tried the sundried tomato with fennel, if you want to know), the French accents of the wait staff, the little black dresses on the women patrons and the suits on the men, the towels in the ladies’ room…  All right, I’ll stop now. And start planning for the 2020’s treat! (Suggestions welcome!)

And of course I didn't forget dessert:

I have no clue what this was, but it was delicious.
The cute little cubes are thyme-infused gelatin.

My sister's dessert (no, I don't know what this is
either, but they both disappeared very fast!)

And then there was the sink in the ladies' room:

 Such wonderful attention to detail!

I will not sully the Le Bernardin experience with promotion, save to say that while my Museum Mystery protagonist doesn't do much cooking, she does visit some very nice restaurants in Philadelphia.

Coming June 2014