Culinaria: Bass and langoustine

Atelier Les Deux Garçons.

By Paula Pereira for

I have to see three times the cultural magazine Savoir Vivre aux Châteaux to really appreciate it because at first view appears on the front page the work of Atelier Les Deux Garçons under the name Taxidermis, approaching “sensitive topics, luxurious, demonstrating aristocratic traits. They exude an air of decadence”, they said. The images have a touch of absurd. Imagine one monkey hanging up as Jesus on your wall. On the magazine they dedicated five pages to this topic. Following the logic of the main page, I found everything related to art at a certain point, and the article of the bass and langoustine with three pages of pictures and explanations really fix quite well in the general concept.

Looking at the recipe created by Chef Vincent van Vierzen at the Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht, took me to the dinner and wine list easy to download from the website. The main dish is not there and the recommended wine, either. I do not know the reason.

Appears as first the vanilla-hangop made with yoghurt, on wikipedia mentioned that is often a dessert. You need to make the preparation one night before, the next day it gets a quark structure which is mixed with vanilla and ginger syrup. Then finished the taste with salt and pepper. You need to fill in a pastry bag with this mix. I will never do this trick with the yoghurt because is not a practical technique for me.

Second is the preparation of de Bass and langoustine. We make four filets of the bass and cut fine until you obtain a tartare, then give some taste with the rasping of the lemon’s skin. More taste adding pepper, salt and finish it with fine slices of chives (Allium schoenoprasum). The preparation of the langoustine deserves video explanation:

The third step is making a pea cream and gelatine with agar-agar. For the cream we make a pure by mixing water, plus milk and the peas just a little warm. Add salt and pepper. A half of the mix goes to the pastry bag. To continue, the other half is mixed with agar-agar. Finally, to create the gelatine dessert you should warm up a little bit the mass with agar-agar and then bring all  over a plate, later put it inside the refrigerator.

The antiboise is much easier, the brunoise technique is used to prepare the tomatoes. The bell bean is prepared by the classic way to preserve the colour. Blancheer short under salty water and cool down under ice water. To finish, the tomatoes and bell beans go to cook in olive oil. Give taste with pepper, salt and rasping of lemon’s skin.

We use lecite in the last step to make the pea’s foam…is exactly the same as making the gelatine, the difference is that now is lecite instead of agar-agar. You should beat the mix, obviously to obtain the foam.

Now the garniture: blancheer the asparagus and preserve the colour by putting them under ice water. Select the best pieces for the dish presentation.

Bass and langoustineHow to put all of this together on an artistic way?

We use a ring to make a circle of 10 cm with the pea’s gelatine and fill in with the bas to 2cm high. On the top of your tartare goes over again, a pea’s gelatine circle. Over your tartare place the two asparagus, a little pea’s cream and vanilla-hangop. Warm antiboise around the tartare circle. Just at the moment you cook pieces of bass and langoustine, place them over the tartare. Use salicornia for decoration. Good idea! Where to add the pea’s foam?? it was not described.  I assumed it is going over the pieces of bass and langoustine because of the picture. You’ll not find any image online, of course.

So much to do by reading the cultural magazine. I like the colours and fresh taste. The taste of some great viogniers is highly mineral and elegant, probably a perfect combination because the dish is fresh in lemon flavour and has this tartare structure. I do not like using agar-agar and lecite which is necessary to create the structures, at least I make my own version without them  because specially agar-agar was always a nightmare during my laboratory courses and I do not feel like using it makes any help for taste, which I value much more than artificial structure.

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