May 31, 2020 

Time for something completely different. Since the completely unnecessary shutdown due to COVID-19 ( see Michael

Fumento’s column from March 26th Sweet Hysteria, Farr’s law in particular), restaurants have been forced to do only take out. Obviously, the very top end restaurants can’t meet their clients expectations that way, 

Frasca had the neat idea of letting us participate as the final step in Auguste Escoffier’s Brigade de Cuisine. They have the Chef de Cuisine, Sous Chef, the Poissonier and the Patissier do all their pre-meal time preps and package the complete Mise En Place. We then take it home and do the job of the line cooks at home in our kitchen. 

 This is their fifth one, Early Summer Supper. It’s a 3 course meal, Insalata di Patate, Seared Halibut and Sautéed Summer Vegetables and Filled Cannoli. We actually did it as 3 courses, clearing the table and returning to the kitchen for each course. This page covers the Mise en place and first course.

We really liked the logo on the take home bag.

Here’s the table set with just the wine glasses and silverware for the 1st and 2nd courses. The glass tables that we favor do add a bit of elegance, reminding us where the meal is from.

Not having poached an egg in a very long time, we thought we should do a test run with Frasca’s suggested technique of swirling the water to create a vortex to create a tidy white without wispy streamers. The last comment in the movie was wrong, the technique does work, just not how we were expecting it to. The vortex pulls all the wispy streamers away from the poached egg, producing a really neat result.  Martin was very nervous about trying it with 2 eggs, so we ended using a brand new technique from our favorite cooking magazine - Cook’s Illustrated. We’ll get to that in a while.

Here’s the Mise en place for the Insalata di Patate.The potatoes and aromatics are heating in the pot, the Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette with Niçoise olives, eggs and vinegar are on the scale.

And the Mise en place for the poached eggs. Yes, that’s a colander!

The colander is used to remove the watery part of the white before it gets into the boiling water. This is from Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Poached Eggs.

As you can see the poached eggs are nice and tidy and Livingston approves potato salad! (Bill doesn’t do poached eggs, so Martin got both of ‘em 😉 )

Regulations were lifted so that locked down restaurants could sell wine with takeout meals. Still can’t have open containers in cars, but every little bit helps.

An absolutely amazing wine created by Dan Petroski accompanies the meal! The description from Frasca was perfect - “Inspired by the great Sauvignons of Friuli, it has the extract and aromatic interest without heaviness. A far cry from the Sauvignon Blancs of New Zealand, Massican’s Sauvignon is all about melon and citrus rather than green pepper and grassiness. A knock out for summer veggies and seafood”

Livingston had to investigate the wine being opened and discovered that poached eggs are good!