Monday, May 30, 2011
The Family Meal
After an hour of opening the kitchen and prep work, we make the family meal. In restaurants, the so-called "family meal" is when the staff dines together before service. This is probably my favorite part of the internship. We take turns and help one another prepare either lunch or dinner using leftovers from previous service or produce that's in surplus or might go bad soon.
Today I helped Johnny make lunch, it sure was delicious. We reheated some pasta from last night's family meal and gave it a bit more body with the addition of vegetable stock and cream. The rigatoni were doused in a rich tomato sauce full of fresh herbs and spices. The smells automatically made your mouth water. With that out of the way, I began on a side dish that was a bit healthier.
I sauteed shallots in olive oil with a bit of minced garlic. Then I added zucchini and fennel to the pan. With just a little bit of salt and pepper, it was the perfect accompaniment for lunch. I think I have a new obsession with fennel. When it is done right, sauteed until almost transparent with golden edges, it is simply divine.
So, simple recipe: Olive oil in pan, add 1 clove of garlic (minced), wait for it to sizzle and sing, then add two fennel bulbs that have been cut into 1 inch pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes or until almost translucent and somewhat golden brown on the edges. Then season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
*Chef's tip: safe the fennel fronds to use as garnish!