Behind the Dish: Roasted Veal Chops and Sweetbreads with Lemon and Rosemary

What goes into Roasted Veal Chops and Sweetbreads with Lemon and Rosemary? Well, obviously, veal chops, lemon and rosemary. Veal “sweetbreads” are the thymus gland of the animal, and have a mild flavor and creamy texture; they’re often considered the best of all sweetbreads.

Julia Child acquired this recipe from Daniel Boulud, whose restaurant Daniel is one of the hottest eating spots in Manhattan. You can find a two-part video of its preparation linked here.

It starts with roasting the veal chops in a pan with vegetables. The ones we’re using are carrots, celery, turnips, and fingerling and redskin potatoes. The original recipe also calls for fennel; we’re using fennel seed. The sweetbreads are pierced with a sprig of fresh rosemary from our rooftop, fried in hot oil to crisp them, and seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

The chops are then roasted with slices of, and juice from, lemons (we’re using Meyer lemons — for their fragrance and sweetness), white wine (we’re using dry vermouth), more fresh rosemary and chopped parsley. Each meal will feature a chop topped with a sweetbread, surrounded by the vegetables and drizzled with vermouth-enhanced veal jus.

This is going to be a fine dish indeed. We hope you’ll join us.

Behind the Dish: Poached Filet of Red Snapper

Tonight’s Julia dish, Poached Filet of Red Snapper with Mushrooms and Fast White Butter Sauce, is an example of how even a simple dish with few ingredients can become special when you have a fresh product prepared properly. In this case, that product is skinned red snapper, poached in French vermouth, fish stock, mushrooms and lemon juice with a little salt and pepper. The fish is then removed from the cooking liquid and the liquid becomes a base for a beurre blanc, made with butter, more lemon juice, white vermouth, white wine vinegar, shallots and white pepper. The dish is completed with a touch of buttery cucumber. We’re serving it with more of that marvelous Israeli couscous.

Will this dish be so good that it earns a proposal from one of our patrons, the way the beef tenderloin did for Ruth last night? (Sorry, sir, she’s taken.) Come in tonight and find out.

Because this is another dish from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home, we thought we’d treat you to another video clip, this one featuring highlights of the public TV series by the same name. As the video points out, the whole series is available on DVD, so if this whets your appetite for more, you can order away.

Behind the Dish: Bouillabaisse de Poulet

Julia’s variation on the traditional bouillabaisse — normally fish stew — that substitutes chicken for the fish is a tasty dish indeed. Here’s how we make it at the Bistro: the poached chicken is flavored by a combination of white wine, vermouth and “Provençal vegetables and herbs”: onions, scallions, our rooftop-grown tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, saffron and orange peel. Swirled in as a final touch is a bit of pistou — a French variation on the Italian pesto — a combination of basil, tomato, garlic and cheese. We will serve it with Ohio-grown baby red potatoes for a hearty dish with plenty of local flavor.

And, what’s a birthday — especially a great chef’s birthday — without cake and ice cream? Our dessert choices tonight will include a special Angel Food Cassata with Cherries and Nectarines as Julia’s birthday cake, and our ice cream flavor of the evening is sure to be an eye-opener: Mango Jalapeño. Or, enjoy your mangoes and your cake together in a special dessert with a real taste of the tropics, Plantain-Mango Trifle with Banana Chips and Dulce de Leche Pastry Cream.

It’s going to be a special celebration at the Bistro tonight — don’t miss it!