(I started this post last week and forgot to finish it.) Aside from the presentations at the daily 4:30 meeting (like my chicken liver mousse demo several weeks ago), there is not a whole lot of room to experiment in this kitchen, since we are responsible for executing the vision of James Beard Award Winning Chef with accuracy and consistency.
However, R&D Chef lives in the area and has been coming in to test new recipes, revamp old ones, etc. This time he had his sights set on the mushroom & cream dish. And in the process, I got to learn a cool classic Spanish technique from R&D Chef himself.
These past couple of weeks I’ve been working on Plancha 1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It works out since both guys on Plancha 1 want those days off and both my station partner on Plancha 2 and I want Sundays and Mondays. It’s like playing musical plancha. Anyway, the point is that R&D Chef made the mushroom special way more difficult (but way more delicious) and even though it’s not really my station anymore, it still seems to be my problem at least a few days a week.
I learned that the traditional Spanish way of frying an egg is in olive oil. But it doesn’t just go into a pan like a sunny-side-up breakfast. It gets delicately dropped into a smoking hot pot of oil and gently formed using two spoons. Essentially, the technique is the same as poaching an egg, but the whites take on a yummy, browned, crispy texture while the yolk stays runny in the middle. SO GOOD but so dangerous.
Let’s talk science for a bit. Egg whites largely consist of water. Water and oil (especially 350-400 degree F oil) is no bueno. The eggs start practically exploding the instant they hit the oil, causing splash-back and the potential for burns and flare-ups. In the middle of a busy dinner service. So much fun (not).
On top of it all, we are also offering a foie gras upgrade option with a seared 50g slice. I almost reached my breaking point today when 5 orders checked in back to back (2 together then 3). No one had told me that we switched to just one egg per order instead of two, so I struggled through frying 10 of those godforsaken eggs. By myself. While working other tickets and keeping a close eye on five slices of foie gras (easily $50 of protein). It was frustrating and I knew I was taking a horribly long time, almost 20 minutes, just to get these plates out. I wanted to give up and cry. But I made it, and each subsequent dish was much easier since I only had to fry one per order. Sigh.
At least they’re worth it. I got to sample it the first day R&D Chef taught me the frying technique (sans foie of course) and it is so fucking delicious. Goodbye, my pretty, pretty hands. You’ll never look the same again after a few more days of this. (Just kidding… sorta.)