Of Fishheads, Eggs and Chicken Mushrooms

Spending time at another restaurant – what the French call a “stage” (pronounced “staahg) – is all about learning. The fish head that caught my eye the first day – cod or stripped bass – is served to guests sans eyeballs after it’s braised for 14 minutes. It’s awesome for a guy like me who loves anything
edible to see a kitchen serving this – a spoonful of this broth made me salivate for more – just delicious.

I chose Blue Hill for a stage after eating here last sumer. The most memorable thing I had was a dish featuring crispy egg with speck and charcuterie sauce. The egg was fried, but when cut into, the yolk was runny. As soon as I returned to work, I was determined to figure out how the cooks made it. We came up with boling the egg for 4 1/2 minutes and then letting it sit for 3 minutes befoe shocking it (putting the egg in ice water to stop the cooking). It turns out I was damn close. They boil it hard for exactly 4 1/2 minutes, and then shock it right away. Pretty cool to figure it out now.

Turns out that almost every table gets a farm egg (laid on the restaurant property) prepared in either crispy or poached form with the accoutrements varying frequenty. I’m a huge fan of eggs and their versatility, and I appreciate the focus put on them at this restaurant.

The highlight of my day was a chicken mushroom – a variety I have never encountered. These things are phenomenal. I couldn’t help but imagining giving these to my wife who holds mushrooms as necessities in her food repertoire. She would love them, and I – man, I am excited – about these things. I have already sent one of our favorite farmers an inquiry about the availability in the midwest! No wonder Chef Barber set these little beauties aside for the VIPs tonight.

Finally, I was able to try some charcuterie tonight, and the pate was quite good–texture and flavor spot on, but what set it off was this bitter chocolate-cocoa tuile. Crazy, but good. Thus, it was crazy good. Look forward to inquiring and learning about it more tomorrow.

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