Cook Like le Chef


Butter Poached Jerusalem Artichokesand Fennel

Written by Caroline SchiffPhotos by Bonnie BriantRecipe inspired by Chefs on MHz Choice


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EDITOR'S NOTE: When I first screened award-winning French drama Chefs, the first, second and third thought I had was, "Man, I sure would love to know what those dishes taste like!" Enter Brooklyn Chef Caroline Schiff. Having spent a year cooking in France, Caroline brings firsthand insight to French cuisine and she has graciously created three recipes inspired by Season 1 of Chefs. I think you'll agree, Caroline deliciously answers my initial question! ~ J.C.

The French love their cuisine and that means the French love their ingredients. Everything French soil produces is held in such high regard, from their butter and cheese to the wine, livestock, produce and fleur de sel harvested on the coasts. It’s what makes their culinary heritage so rich and unique. They revere and protect it fiercely. Ask any French chef about butter and you better clear your schedule.

The intense obsession over the produce from Masumoto in French drama Chefs may seem over the top, a caricature even, to outsiders, but for the French, it’s anything but. Terroir and ingredients are the philosophical foundations of French cuisine,

Preview - Chefs: Season 1 Ep 4

ABOVE: Bataille de légumes (Vegetable battle)! Chefs now available on MHz Choice!

and the quality of the produce itself is of the utmost importance. Alain Passard, Joel Robuchon, Sophie Pic and Michel Bras- these legendary French chefs have created ethereal dishes from vegetables; some which have defined their careers. Google “Robuchon potatoes” and see what I’m talking about. To the French chef, every vegetable deserves its own treatment, its own pedestal.

This scene from Season 1 episode 4 of Chefs, tasting and testing their vegetable palates, is intense and Romain is victorious in identifying the Jerusalem artichoke as the mystery vegetable, which is pretty impressive since it’s not exactly an everyday staple. Any ingredient given this much attention, deserves a recipe of its own. Having spent time in France, and being a chef myself, I’ve gained an understanding of how they treat their produce: with good butter, a few key steps and some simple seasoning. Suddenly vegetables are elevated and ethereal, and the dish can stand on its own without adding a bunch of bells and whistles.

I encourage you to step out of your vegetable comfort zone and surprise your dinner guests with this elegant and unusual vegetable appetizer. The Jerusalem artichokes and fennel are poached in beurre monté, which blankets each morsel in a velvety robe of fatty goodness. Lemon cuts through the fat to make it pop, and toasted hazelnuts play with the earthiness of the Jerusalem artichokes. It’s unusual but harmonious at the same time. I like to serve this with some crusty bread to get all the buttery goodness at the bottom of the bowl, a glass of dry white wine or Crémant, and follow it up with a delicate main dish for a knockout meal. It’ll impress anyone you have over to dinner – try and see if they can guess the vegetables!


Recipe: Butter Poached Jerusalem Artichokes & Fennel

“Artichauts de Jérusalem Pochés au Beurre avec Fenouile”

Artichauts de Jérusalem Pochés au Beurre avec Fenouile

Serves 2 as an appetizer
Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
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8 to 10 small Jerusalem artichokes, rinsed and cut lengthwise
½ of a small fennel bulb, cut into thin wedges, reserve the fennel fronds to garnish
¼ cup water
8 oz unsalted butter
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons roughly chopped, toasted hazelnuts
Juice of ½ a lemon
Fresh ground white pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Fleur de sel to garnish
Pain de campagne to serve

Process

  1. Blanch the vegetables: In a large pot cover the sliced jerusalem artichokes and fennel wedges with a generous amount of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until just tender, but still with a slight bite. They are tough by nature, so don’t be afraid to really cook them. Strain and set aside.
  1. Make the beurre monté: In a small saucepan bring ¼ cup of water to a boil with the bay leaf, then reduce the heat to low and slowly add the butter, about 1 tbs at a time, whisking vigorously to emulsify the butter into the water. Continue until all the butter is incorporated and season with a pinch of salt and a crack of white pepper. Taste and adjusting the seasoning if needed.
  1. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and fennel to the beurre monté and very gently cook the vegetables until they are soft to the touch, getting the last bit of rawness out of them; you can test them with your fingers. Do not let the beurre monté boil or it will separate and you’ll have to start over. It should be creamy, uniform and pale in color. You can save, chill and reheat any extra. It’s great for all vegetables and butter poaching seafood as well.
  1. Spread the poached Jerusalem artichokes and fennel out into two shallow, wide bowls, topping with another few spoonfuls of the beurre monté. Garnish the vegetables with some toasted hazelnuts, a little fleur de sel, some fresh cracked white pepper and the fennel fronds. Top each dish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to cut through the richness. Enjoy right away.  

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About the Chef
Caroline Schiff is a chef based in Brooklyn, NY with a decade of experience in restaurants and bakeries. In May 2018 she launched her culinary consulting firm ParadigmSchiff, offering recipe and product development, menu consultations, concept development and corporate events. She has been featured on Vice: Munchies, Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, Genius Kitchen, Cosmopolitan.com, and stars in the upcoming documentary series, Her Name Is Chef. Follow along @pastryschiff and @paradigmschiff.