Monday, January 11, 2010

Veal Packets in White Wine Sauce, Endive Braised in Creme Fraiche

Did someone puke on my plate, or was that my dinner?

How can you have eaten whatever horror came from that plate, you ask? Well, let me assure you that it tasted better than it looked. I'm not necessarily a Mad Plating Master, but my food does not normally resemble the deposits that my Dad's cat so lovingly leaves on the carpet. Or, if she's feeling really special, on my brother's bed.

This meal started out looking like this:

It's really not much of an improvement, I know. Veal ala vomit.

I guess we could have tried to pretty it up a bit by arranging it more nicely or something, but we were kind of just so appalled by its slovenly appearance that we figured it wasn't going to get much better, and we should probably just eat it.

The veal packets with their vegetables are like a very simple country stew, which is nice on a cold winter night. And the endive is awesome. Anything with that much butter, cream, cheese, and expensive cured pig product has to be delicious, right? It's was creamy and rich, and the prosciutto makes it just salty enough for a salt fiend like me. There's also some lemon somewhere in there, so it has a brightness underneath the creaminess, which lends the dish a nice well-rounded flavor, and the endive then provides a tiny bit of bitterness on the back end. 

Overall, it's the kind of 'Party in Your Mouth,' as Hunter said, that keeps you coming back for more. And more. I liked it so much by itself and with the potatoes that I ended up with a cream hangover. You know how you'll go to bed at night and feel like cream is just oozing out of your pores? That's how I felt, but I think it was worth it.

I would highly recommend serving the braised onion with pork, or possibly with a steak. I'm not including the recipe for the veal packets in white wine sauce because I just wasn't crazy about the recipe. If you would like to make a dish that's vaguely similar-chicken braised in white wine-then I would recommend this recipe from Epicurious.

Endive Braised in Creme Fraiche
(Adapted from Braise by Daniel Boulud)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 14 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound French ham (such as Bayonne) or prosciutto, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the sugar
Add the endive leaves and lemon juice and cook until almost all the liquid in the pan has evaporated, 3-4 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and continue to cook until the leaves are evenly coated with the reduced pan liquid, about 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.

Lay the endive leaves in the bottom of a casserole dish, and cover with the creme fraiche. Season with salt, pepper, and the mace or nutmeg. Layer the prosciutto over this mix, and top with the cheese.

Cover with a buttered parchment round and transfer to the oven. Braise for 1 hour. Preheat the broiler. Remove the parchment and place the dish under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling; watch it carefully. Remove from the oven and serve.

Several of the pictures in this post were taken by Hunter.

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