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Andy Lynes

Tuscan Cuisine - Hearth Style

9 posts in this topic

Marco, I've enjoyed reading about your restaurant on your website and in Fat Guy's excellent report on eGullet. Bond Girl's pictorial made me very hungry indeed.

You say on the website that your food "is rooted in the classical cooking of Tuscany, presented in a fresh, modern way". Is there a dish on your current menu that you think illustrates this approach particularly well?

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There are currently two dishes on my menu that really illustrate the classical cooking of Tuscany in a "fresh, modern way." The first is the monkfish osso bucco, where I have taken monk tails, portioned them leaving the bone in, prepared them in the exact manner of veal osso bucco, and served them with the traditional accompaniment of saffron risotto. The other dish is the tuna appetizer with anchovies, capers, and lemon. This combination of ingredients has been used for centuries; I have just tweaked them in such a way that they appear more refined and offer several variations on a theme.

As a chef, I find inspiration in classic combinations and techniques, so I try to make these the foundation of all my dishes. I'm really not a fan of this new movement in "laboratory cuisine" that Fernan Adria has pioneered.

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Marco, thanks very much for your reply. Would you care to elaborate further on the refinements and variations of the tuna appetizer with anchovies, capers, and lemon, it sounds delicious.

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For my tuna appetizer, there are three raw preparations and one cooked on the plate. The first preparation is raw tuna minced through a fine mesh food mill, which gives the tuna a very creamy texture, and paired with crunchy, fried capers. The second preparation is a diced tuna tartare paired with capers and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The third preparation is a sushi-style plank of tuna with a dot of parsley puree and a marinated white anchovy. The fourth preparation is tuna poached in extra-virgin olive oil and slathered with a traditional tuna sauce that is used in the classic preparation of vitello tonato.

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Marco, thanks for providing further details, sounds to me like the definition of fresh and modern.

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For my tuna appetizer, there are three raw preparations and one cooked on the plate. The first preparation is raw tuna minced through a fine mesh food mill, which gives the tuna a very creamy texture, and paired with crunchy, fried capers. The second preparation is a diced tuna tartare paired with capers and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The third preparation is a sushi-style plank of tuna with a dot of parsley puree and a marinated white anchovy. The fourth preparation is tuna poached in extra-virgin olive oil and slathered with a traditional tuna sauce that is used in the classic preparation of vitello tonato.

This sounds like a very interesting dish, which I probably would not have ordered if I based my decision only on the appetizer's menu description.

Tuna

Capers, Anchovy, Lemon and Parsley

This menu description reminds me of those at WD-50, where the ingredients are listed but their role in the dish is not explained. Will any other dishes at Hearth surprise me as the tuna appetizer would have?


JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Part of my style is to keep my menu descriptions very simple because I like to surprise the customers a bit. I will tell them what the what main components in each dish are and then assume that they are going to be happy with all the variations. My hope is that there is an element of pleasent surprise in every dish. For example, the menu description for our Braised Veal Breast reads "with roasted sweetbreads, cauliflower and carrots." What the customer gets on the plate is a bit of roasted cauliflower, some braised cauliflower, and a dollop of cauliflower puree. For the carrot component, we serve carrot sformato (a savory Tuscan custard) and roasted carrots.

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I meant roasted cauliflower but there is also a roasted sweetbreads component on the plate.

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