The James Beard Project: Week 4

Here are the menus for Week 4 of the James Beard Project. (Of course, we will be closed Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving — Gobble Gobble!):

Monday, Nov. 23 — Basil Lasagna (Beard on Pasta, p. 157)

Tuesday, Nov. 24 — Halibut with Crab (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 107)

Wednesday, Nov. 25 — Sole with Shrimp Sauce (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 192)

Friday, Nov. 27 — Chicken Sauté with Figs and Cognac (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 166)

Saturday, Nov. 28 — Steak Au Poivre (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 159)

Behind the Dish: Smoked Salmon Napoleon

Tonight’s Julia Project dish is the creation of the award-winning chef Charlie Trotter, who shared with Julia an idea for an appetizer that Bistro 185 is turning into a full-fledged entree. Everyone’s heard of a Napoleon pastry, right?: layers and layers of delicate puff pastry sandwiching layers of sweet pastry cream, sometimes jam, sometimes both. (In some places it’s called a mille-feuille, mille foglie or vanilla slice.) Well, Smoked Salmon Napoleon takes that same principle and applies it to layers of smoked salmon. And it’s an ideal concept for us here at the Bistro, given that we smoke our own salmon.

The thinly sliced smoked salmon is layered with papaya that’s been pickled in hot pepper, sake, vinegar, cloves, mustard, cinnamon, bay leaf and allspice, as well as an avocado-tomato salsa made with chives and lemon juice. A green herbal sauce made from herb juice and herb oil containing parsley, watercress and tarragon, seasoned with salt and pepper, brings the whole creation together. Charlie serves his Napoleons with herbed potato tuiles; we’ll be serving ours with thin, freshly fried waffle potato chips, as well as another treat: salmon ravioli.

Get ready for a combination of flavors you’ve probably never experienced before — but will really enjoy!

Behind the Dish: Chile Glazed Country Ribs with Black Beans and Rice

The Julia Project travels south of the border for its flavors tonight, with a recipe developed and shared with Julia by Rick Bayless, who with his wife Deann runs the award-winning Frontera Grill and Topolobompo restaurants in Chicago. Rick became a student of cooking Mexican style and came up with this recipe that combines country-style pork ribs (which have lots of meat per rib and a great texture) with a marinade made of roasted ancho and grajillo chili peppers. The marinade also includes garlic, meat or poultry broth, cider vinegar, cumin seeds, ground cloves, peppercorns, oregano, cinnamon, salt and sugar. After marinating in the roasted chili pepper mixture, the ribs are baked in foil with water, basted with their cooking juices and the leftover marinade, until crispy on the outside and full of flavor on the inside. (You can see Rick preparing the recipe in a video linked here.)

We’ll be serving them with black beans and rice for a meal that is sure to wake up tastebuds longing for a meaty pork rib with a spicy tang. Come join us!