BlackBook Exclusive: Seasonal Fall Recipes From Yves Chef Alex Baker

From bbook.com by Ken Scrudato
BlackBook Exclusive: Seasonal Fall Recipes From Yves Chef Alex Baker

 

For many young chefs, taking over an existing kitchen is a heady mixture of nerves and exhilaration; especially when the stakes are as high as they are in flashy Tribeca, where the clientele pretty much knows exactly what they want.

Yet for Alex Baker, the current chef at the highly regarded Yves – a stylish corner bistro that is bright and sunny for brunch or power lunch and intimate for dinner and innovative cocktails – there was an even greater opportunity: “I was excited to put my own dishes on the menu, of course. But, I think mostly I was eager to cultivate a kitchen environment of my own, and to teach less experienced cooks.”

That sentiment trickles down to the menu itself, encouraging clientele to expand their palates, without over-concepting the dishes. Of course, Chef Baker’s classic French training certainly doesn’t hurt when to comes to realizing seasonal creations like rabbit blanquette. As she explains, “classically, this dish is done with veal; but I love putting items on my menu that challenge the diner a little. I like to use proteins that they normally wouldn’t order or come across. It opens their eyes to new things.”

 

 

While some favorites like coq au vin chicken meatballs still grace the menu, Chef Baker certainly isn’t afraid to shake things up – to wit, celery root velouté with brown butter, walnuts, black truffle & chive, or grilled monkfish with sauce amèricaine, celery, baby leeks, cress & lime. What’s on offer “changes with the seasons. I’m very much into going to the farmers market and having things on my menu that are being grown and sourced locally.”

What’s new for the autumn? According to the chef, it’s all about “a fall bitter green salad with local apples, delicata squash, and farro. And I think our Spanish mackerel escabeche is great – it’s served with baby turnips, carrots, and potatoes.”

Young female chefs have been notably shaking up the dining scene of late in New York City; which she enthusiastically acknowledges. Yet she admits she’s faced the same challenges as her male colleagues. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” she insists. “And have never felt like my gender has been an issue.”

 

Exclusive Autumn Recipes from Yves Chef Alex Baker 

 

Rabbit Blanquette
1 whole rabbit
1c water
1c heavy cream
1 onion, large dice
5 button mushrooms, cut in half
1 carrot, large dice
1 celery stalk, large dice
1T salt
pinch of nutmeg
1T crème fraiche or sour cream
Have your butcher cut the rabbit into 6 pieces for you. Put all of the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer for about 1 hour or until the rabbit seems to be tender and almost falling off the bone. Cool and strain the rabbit out. Put the liquid back in a pot and reduce it until it is thick – about halfway. Add the crème fraiche or sour cream and season to taste if it needs it. Meanwhile, pull the rabbit off the bone and save the vegetables. Mix the sauce, vegetables and the rabbit together and serve over rice or with pasta.

 

 

Mackerel Escabeche
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
1 shallot sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 fennel, sliced thin
2 baby turnips, cut in half
2 fingerling potatoes
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
1T salt
10g honey
1 cinnamon stick
1c. white wine
1c. water or fish stock if you have
4T white wine vinegar
4T olive oil
2 Spanish mackerel fillets
Sweat first 5 ingredients until translucent in a large pot. Add spices and toast. Add honey and toast. Add white wine and cook until alcohol is cooked off. Add water, white wine vinegar and olive oil. Bring to a boil and pour over fish. Cool an serve with grilled bread.

 

 

 

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