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, Daniel Boulud was delighted by the live Santa Barbara prawns baked in salt at Michael Cimarusti's L.A. restaurant Providence. What have you loved lately, Michael?
"When I was at Colicchio & Sons, Tom made a dish of soft-cooked egg with American sturgeon caviar. It was warm and beautiful, with a white wine or Champagne sauce, lots of herbs, spears of white asparagus, and the caviar. It was delicious, simple, and beautiful."
Colicchio & Sons chef-owner Tom Colicchio explains the dish:
"It's funny — when Michael came into the restaurant, this dish wasn't on the menu yet. I just whipped it up off the top of my head just for him. We were doing a poached-egg dish with a bunch of different spring things at the time — onions and peas, very springy vegetables — but I wanted to move those spring things to some other dishes for the menu I was making for Michael. I wanted to do this egg, but I had to do a different garnish. I was doing the white asparagus on a different dish, so it was a matter of puréeing them to make the mousse — it's a white asparagus purée that's aerated, so it's really light. Then we take an egg, which is poached in the shell, almost soft-boiled, and then the caviar and the crispy chicken skin.
Actually the way we make the chicken skin is really great. It's something that [wd~50 chef Wylie Dufresne] showed me when he was on [Top Chef]; it's a way of doing it that's really cool. You take all the fat off of it, lay it out; take a little meat glue, put that in there, wrap the chicken skin up and roll it — you put it in plastic and torque it down so it's like a roulade of chicken skin. Then you freeze it, and when it's frozen you put it on a slicer and slice it really, really thin. You put it on a baking sheet between two pieces of silpat, and you cook it, and it's so crispy. It's perfect."