Menu Classics from Michael's Waterside
My dear friend, Chef James Sly, owns a restaurant in Carpinteria called Sly's. Chef Sly prepares a regional prix fixe menu based on the old French classics. There have been menus from Alsace-Lorraine, Jura, Paris and Provence. Each region has a specialty based on the indigenous foods and traditions.
Coming up next is a menu that brings back some of my classics that were regulars on the menu from my restaurant, Michael's Waterside (1984-1993). While most are my originals, they have the DNA of French cuisine that I cut my teeth on during my training days in France and Great Britain.
Menu Notes and a Mini History of the Dishes
The Soufflé Suisesse was originally an Escoffier dish from the 1800's that Chef Albert Roux interpreted and modernized. It was and still is a regular feature on the Le Gavroche restaurant menu in London. THe dish is a twice baked pillow of airy bechamel floating on a pool of cream with Gruyere cheese melted into the soufflé.
The abalone had its origins during my stint as chef of the shuttered Olive Mill Bistro. I was one of the earliest chefs to use cultured abalone on a menu. The abalone are egg battered, sauteed then sauced with a luscious butter reduction sauce with enoki daki mushrooms, dill and fresh tomato.
The tagliatelle is made from fresh spinach tagliatelli noodles tossed in a cream pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes, prosciutto and parmesan. One of our dearest clients, the Huganin's, ordered so often that I put his name on the dish.
The endive salad is simply my take on a Frenchified Waldorf Salad. I use apples, Belgian endive, walnut oil vinaigrette, Roquefort and toasted walnuts. The recipe was featured in Gourmet magazine's recipe collection.
The salmon dish was my take on the Rack of Lamb Persillade. The salmon is topped with a parslied breadcrumb topping and baked. The sauce is a salmon flavored demi glace with fresh basil and tomato.
Tournedos Vigneronne is a take on a French classic the sauced a sautéed filet of beef with demi glace. The sauce is finished with grapes, escargot and mushroom, preferable morels. At times I used fresh escargot from the lemon orchards in Ojai.
Canard Juliette is a Roux classic. In their version, the duck is served in two stages. First the breast is served on the light side of medium with a julienne of leeks and carrots with an orange scented duck jus. The legs are served as a second course, cooked crispy, and garnished with a salad of curly endive. My version uses only the duck breast.
Veal loin Forestiere in a simple dish with the veal sautéed and served with a mixed mushroom and veal jus. The loin is like a NY steak cut and is a lean, tender part of the veal.
Roulé marquise is a classic from Le Gavroche. I recall Chef Albert Roux telling me that this is, executed well, will make me famous in America. I still cook it to this day and have several variations. The original is a classic flourless sponge cake that is filled with fresh berries and little coffee liquor candies, whipped cream and rolled like a Swiss roll. Raspberry sauce completes the desert.
The Tart Tatin is purely French. The dish was invented be the Tatin sisters. Wikipedia note, "Tradition says that the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France in 1898. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. There are conflicting stories concerning the tart's origin, but the predominant one is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. An alternative version of the tart's origin is offered on the Brotherhood of the Tarte Tatin website, according to which Stéphanie baked a caramelised apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born." My version uses the Roux method of quick cooking that apples, sugar and butter to caramel then topping it with a puff pastry lid and baking it. It is them turned upside down and served hot with some whipped creme fraiche. This is one of Ann Sly's favorites.
Lastly is the Chocolate Ganache Cake. I make a pecan praline base much like a crust for a cheesecake but using toasted pecans. I top that with a dense chocolate ganache and a dusting of cocoa powder and serve it with a raspberry coulis.
There you have it. Come by Sly's and have a taste of Santa Barbara restaurant history. You might see me in the kitchen cranking on the pasta machine!
Chef Michael Hutchings