Garde Manger...the cold part of the kitchen. The cold storage areas. The place where some real cool things happen...no pun intended...well, maybe a little. This was a place in the kitchen way, way back in the day where before refrigerators, there were wooden boxes in the cellar-like areas or cooler places that you kept the perishable items like dairy, meats, fruits and vegetables. This transformed into the area in the professional kitchen where the cooks would typically be working on cold arrangements, beautiful platters, canapés and hors d'oeuvres, centerpieces for displays like whole decorated hams, fish, game etc. Sometimes tallow carvings, aspics and the like as well as various fruit and vegetable composures, salads, pickling, curing, brining, smoking etc. In today's modern kitchen, the garde manger sometimes is just the "pantry" station for things like caesar salads, soups, small cold appetizers etc. But in others, it is where all the cold items are produced, including elaborate platters, displays of foods, canapés, all kinds of pates, terrines, sausages, galantines, gelees etc. I have always worked in kitchens that employ the garde manger chef(s) as they should be...doing all kinds of wizardry that showcase the art and craft of the cold kitchen and the artistry it possesses. This was a terrine we made last week for a series of chefs tables. Rachel and I thought up the components and crafted the arrangement of the layering. This is a terrine of the following:
- veal sweetbreads, cooked in a seasoned stock for 8-10 minutes, then cooled. We then sliced it into 1/4 inch slices, sautéed it in brown butter, then bathed and soaked in a black currant reduction.
- fresh foie gras, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, seasoned and seared in a hot pan, turned over and then cooled to room temperature.
- a fortified chicken broth with fresh cider, black currant juice, caramelized shallots, apples, onions, thyme, bay, aromats...simmered for 30 minutes, then strained. From there, we added soaked gelatin leaves at a ratio of 7 ounces to a gallon of liquid.
- granny smith apples, diced 1/4 inch, sautéed, added fresh thyme, seasoned, cooled
- shallots, shaved thin, caramelized gently, seasoned, cooled.
- fresh herbs(thyme, flat leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon...chopped fine
- salt, white pepper
When all cool, we wrapped the terrine mold in lightly oiled plastic wrap, tossed the foie gras and the sweetbreads in herbs and seasonings. Always make sure everything is properly seasoned because you can not go back and re-do it. Then we carefully layered in the sweetbreads, then apples, then shallots and lastly foie gras into the mold. We repeated this until the terrine was full. We then poured the melted, but cool gelatin infused stock into the terrine until full(if too warm, the heat "burns" the herbs and meats). Taking a small skewer, I manipulated the pieces of foie gras and sweetbreads gently around to allow the stock to flow evenly and thoroughly throughout the meat and garnish so as to provide proper and adequate coverage and adherence, thus bonding the entire mass so you can slice. Wrapped up in plastic, covering the top completely, I placed a small press over top and allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator until completely set and firm. When serving, I sliced the terrine into 1/2 inch thick slices, brushed with a few drops of walnut oil, sprinkled a few grains of fleur de sel (French sea salt) and served with the accompaniments of the day...in this case:
- saba aioli (grape must syrup infused into basic aioli, black pepper)
- pears, diced small
- celery leaves and slices, blanched
- walnuts, char grilled, chopped slightly
- walnut powder ( walnut oil, tapioca starch, salt)
- black currant pickled golden raisins (1/2 cp water, 1/4 cp black currant syrup, 1/4 cp red wine vinegar, thyme, salt, black pepper, coriander seed, tablespoon honey)
- black currant vinaigrette (banyuls vinegar, black currant syrup, shallots, salt, white pepper, walnut oil, olive oil)
- micro purple radish and amaranth
- fleur de sel