D.I.Y. Restaurant Recipes: Ai Fiori's Stuffed Morels and Halibut Slideshow
May 11, 2011
Step 1: Raw Ingredients
Chef Jaeckle explains that the restuarant likes to use ingredients in multiple ways in a dish, which is done in this recipe. As you can see from the raw ingredients pictured left, the peas are used both whole and in a purée, the asparagus are used as ribbons and for their stems, the halibut trimmings are used for stuffing the morels, and the morel rings from the stems are used in the sauce.
Step 2: Going the Extra Mile
"It's the little touches that separates you from other places," says chef Jaeckle. He's referring to the fact that the asparagus are cut, the spears are trimmed (as you can see in the photo), and are then blanched. The remaining stalks are cut into thin ribbons that are also used in the recipe. Doing these little extra acts of effort, like splitting the blanched peas in half, is what takes the food to another level.
Step 3: Stuffing the Morels
The morels are stuffed with a combination of foie gras (used for richness), egg, and halibut trimmings that are all blended together. The morel, as you can see, is being stuffed with the mixture and will then be poached in butter.
Step 4: Poaching the Morels and Cooking the Rest
Here, the stuffed morels are being poached in butter, while the morel rings, asparagus tips and ribbons, and split peas are also being cooked lightly in butter.
Step 5: Fish Out of Oven
In the kitchen, chef uses a Hold-o-Mat, which is a square box that heats evenly on all sides while cooking very slowly, so the fish is the same texture throughout. It almost looks transparent but it is cooked enough, as he points out in the photo. How to try this at home? Jaeckle suggests using your oven at the lowest setting possible, but for a fun experiment, he recommends using a toaster oven because it might just work.
Step 6: Making Divots
In the restaurant, chef says that he takes a spoon to dab dollops of the purée on the plate, and then presses a spoon down, and lifts it straight up to create divots for the sauce to sit inside of. Then, to plate, lay the asparagus on top of the fish, then 3 spears scattered, plus the peas and morels randomly arranged — artistically though of course. He says that the restaurant works so hard for balance in so many ways that he likes to “scatter” sometimes, but not in a sloppy way.
Step 7: The Finished Dish
The key to the dish, says Jaeckle, is the ratio of pea purée to ginger hollandaise (made using fresh ginger). He warns that it can go wrong very quickly, but using the divots to capture the right amount of sauce can be helpful.