Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Masato Nishihara of Kajitsu was amazed at the craftsmanship of Daniel Boulud’s charcuterie at New York’s Bar Boulud. What dish spoke to you recently, Daniel?
Who: Daniel Boulud, Chef-Owner, Daniel N.Y., DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, Cafe Boulud, DBGB Kitchen and Bar
What: Santa Barbara Spot Prawns
Where: Providence, Los Angeles
“At Michael Cimarusti’s restaurant Providence, they have these Santa Barbara spot prawns that are served live. You put the live prawn into the pot [on the table] and pour hot salt over it, which cooks it. After a couple of minutes, you start to pull them out of the salt, shake them, peel them, dip them in a little sauce. It’s very casual, very unexpected, very unique and very delicious. And you have to eat with your fingers, which is the kind of food I like. I love that - I love to eat with my hands in a fancy restaurant.”
Providence Chef Michael Cimarusti explains:
“Honestly, it’s all about the vitality of the spot prawns. We’re fortunate enough to be able to get them live six days a week, which is very unique to have wild, not farmed, spot prawns. We’re very lucky to be able to get them here. So, I really wanted guests to experience the vitality of this ingredient.
Cooking them in salt allows for the quickest turn-over. We can pull live prawns out, and just two and a half minutes later, we can have them cooked, which helps everyone really experience the freshness. It’s a very simple dish really. We do nothing to the prawns except remove the legs and swimmerettes as they can hold on to too much salt and can make it taste oversalted. Other than that, we don’t use anything but hot salt and rosemary. It’s a very controlled dish.”
See Boulud tackle Providence in this video from After Hours with Daniel: