For those of you that don’t already now, the French Laundry is a small gourmet restaurant located in Yountville, CA, in the Napa Valley. It’s considered by many the finest restaurant in the country and the Chef/owner, Thomas Keller, is consider by many the country’s top Chef.
I’ve had the pleasure of eating there twice, and for a hardcore foodie it’s about as good as it gets. Chef Keller does a 9-course fixed price (think down payment on a small car) tasting menu that shows off the finest local ingredients, as well as his classical, yet creative techniques.
The first course I had there sounded very unusual when I read it on the menu. It was a cauliflower “panna cotta” topped with a fresh raw oyster and caviar. Why I was a bit apprehensive is because a panna cotta is a cold flan-like Italian dessert. My initial fear was soon replaced by epicurean bliss as I enjoyed maybe the single best first course I’ve ever had. A savory, cold, silky smooth cauliflower flan-like custard topped with a glistening freshly shucked oyster, garnished with a large spoon of Ossetra caviar. It was amazing, as were the rest of the courses.
This clip you are about to see it a sort of warm version of those same ingredients (except the caviar, but feel free to add). It’s also partly inspired by a very old fashioned soup, “oyster stew” which is simply oysters poached in milk or cream.
The clip would have been 15 minutes long if I mentioned everything I wanted to. So be sure to post a comment if you need more info, or I wasn’t clear enough on some of the steps.
2 heads of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 sliced shallot or 1/4 onion
2 clove garlic
2 tbl butter
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chervil 1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
fresh shucked oysters
seasoned flour (flour with salt, pepper, cayenne to taste)
3 whole eggs
vegetable oil for frying