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Was this a dirty trick?

December 13, 2010 8 comments

Dear  Chef Bourdain;

Your rillettes recipe was so bad, I can only imagine it was a dirty trick. I mentioned it before in a previous letter; but it didn’t seem to be going right even when I was making them. The allotted time for simmering several pounds of various sorts of pork didn’t get them in anything like condition to shred easily with a fork. Even after going an extra hour at higher heat, and then really cranking up the heat to try and render that fat, it didn’t melt. In despair, and recognizing I’d already gone off the reservation anyway – I threw it in a food processor so it was at least shredded.

But your recipe calls for a pound of thinly sliced raw fat. It doesn’t say rendered fat, it doesn’t say it should be cooked – just layered on top of the finished rilettes and “folded in”. Yeah, that was disgusting.

At the end of the day, the only rillettes that were at all like they’re supposed to be, is because MLF’s mother insisted on scraping up the bottom of the pan in which I’d cooked them. Those fatty, greasy scraps? They were awesome. The rest was dry and crumbly and basically no good.

Witness for the Prosecution: They sucked

Well, no good except that in a wretched orgy of fried foods, I wrapped some in a won-ton wrapper and deep-fat fried it, which was delicious. Hot grease drooling across my chin, molten pork-jam scalding my tongue in a last act of piggy revenge on he who consumed it. That was awesome.

I served this as a starter with Steak Tartare. That too seems like there’s something wrong with the recipe. It’s not that it was bad -in fact it was quite good – but it was quite soupy, which isn’t my expectation of what Steak Tartare should be like. I followed the recipe scrupulously, with the possible exception that there might have been slightly  more sirloin than normally – which would seem to indicate it would be more firm. Here’s the plate with  Steak Tartare on it.

Like a Soup Sandwich

If  you’ll refer to your own book, you’ll see that your steak tartare recipe is one of the few that has a picture with it, and it doesn’t resemble the product you see above. I’d be more put out about this except it was good anyway, and next time I’ll just mix the “soup” with the steak bit by bit until it has the right consistency, instead of just glopping it all in at once.

This whole dinner was a killer though. I served steak tartare, rillettes, porc mignons a l’ail, pommes puree with truffles, and onion soup les halles all at once. I was so stressed out trying to get it all to come out at once, I don’t think each individual dish was as good as it ought to be. And also I was so flustered, like a Mormon at a porn convention, that when I finally sat down to eat, I didn’t really pay proper attention to the food. The wine and rum might not have helped, either.

Or maybe it did.

I’ll let ya know how the other stuff came out, but I’m kinda honked off about those rillettes, You let me down, chef!

Davy

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Categories: Cooking, Eating, Maundering
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