De la Peau Dans le Jeu. Tuesday, Mar 13 2018 

Skin in the Game


In lieu of the unsolicited opinion, clumsy accusation and merit-less, par-baked verdict viciously slapped on my humble, equal opportunity galantines (see comments here, and here), by Art Institute of California Culinary Director Rudy Kloeble, I would like to reassure you, loyal reader of unwavering faith, bedrock morality and delectable charm, that the galantines and ballotines are all wrapped in the skin of the bird (or fish, or rabbit or plump captive coed), the forcemeat is a “farce fine” of ground and diced breast meat (for fish flesh) and that the cheesecloth holds the shape during the cooking process. I keep the cheesecloth on to prevent oxidation and drying out of the skin. My culinary integrity aims for platinum standards and while certain liberties may be taken, products are generally a proud representation of authenticity in either theory, practice and/or ingredient.

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Skin to win

 A more reasonable inquire on behalf of a culinary instructor would have been to inquire: “are the galantines breast meat wrapped in skin?” to which I would have happily replied: “yes, of course. Suck it”. To publicly dispute my reliable adherence to the kitschy classics of French Gastronomy (on my day off, snowbound and still in my bathroom well into the afternoon) will invite a well seasoned and sturdy retort.

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Caution: reading about galantines on this blog may give goosebumps.

Furthermore, as a matter of sanitary practice and cleanliness, I would suggest Mr. Kloeble use latex gloves on his non-knife holding hand in fish and chicken cutting demonstrations, to keep one’s hands a fingernails clean. Lead through example Sir. Cleanliness is the hallmark of disciplined handiwork (see Bernard L’Oiseau’s anecdote of the Troigros brothers clean aprons in “The Perfectionist”).  And unless there is reason to doubt the accuracy of my craftsmanship, effusive praise is preferred from the peanut gallery.  Make Galantines Great Again.  #MGGA

Let’s not throw shade on the ballotine; an equally refine fabrication similar to the galantine, only that it is served hot. To wit: Thanksgiving turkey leg ballotine.  Thigh muscle meat mixed with ground leg trimmings (meticulously cleaned of tendons), liver, cream, egg, confit chicken gizzards, diced heart, dried cranberries and so forth.  

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A leg up in the skin game.

Not to be outdone, consider the shad ballotine from the Eat The Rich days back in the nation’s Capital.  It is worth noting that my trusted, tall, infinitely capable and indispensable sous-chef Gerald at the time has been recognized by the JBF for his work at Maydan in the capacity of chef.  His skin is delightfully decorated and a pleasure to look at.

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Its a shad state of affairs when the use of skin is questioned.

But wait, there’s more.  Never before posted on this blog, the elusive and **Exclusive** Rabbit ballotine with black truffle and black trumpet mushrooms.  Rabbit wrapped and cooked in its outer layer of flesh (since the rabbits are skinned) and a bonus layer of pancetta. Close enough and good enough for government work.

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Rabbit ballotine with a loin, truffle and black trumpet bull’s eye. You are welcome, internet.

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Galantines: Édition Spéciale “roule ma poule” Saturday, Nov 17 2012 

Galantines:  Special “On a Roll” Edition.

Breast binoculars yet.

Chicken Galantine.  Swan song for the penultimate day at work and poultry butchering demonstration.  Bobo chicken, breast strips, pork, fatback, brandy-drenched currants, pistachios and an inlay of liver mousse wrapped up in fatback.  Yep.  Centered too.

Pleasant, that pheasant.

Pheasant galantine.  Ballotine actually, since it was lightly seared and warmed through with the poaching juices.  Pheasant breast garnish, confit gizzards, pork, livers chestnuts and sage.  Served with chestnut purée, autumn vegetables and a croquette made from the legs.  Legs were braised with juniper and gin, picked from the irritating tendons, shredded, supplemented with whole-grain mustard and orange zest.  Twice breaded and fried (needed more fat for unctuousness).

 

Galantine de Volaille: Edition Spéciale “ma sœur me manque ; diagrammes de Venn par l’intermédiaire de « Joie de Vivre », de Robert Delaunay”. Thursday, Jun 16 2011 

Chicken Galantine: 

Special “I miss my sister; Venn diagrams channeled through

Robert Delaunay’s “Joie de Vivre” edition”.

Frankie Purdue’s electric acid and aspic preservation society.

Not since Sir Sidney Poitier’s critically acclaimed 1980 dramatic psychological thriller “Stir Crazy”, has a bird suit made such a satisfying impact on a beer & sausage buzzed audience. Conceived as homage to a beloved sister’s visit, and executed with antique culinary showmanship, the occasion provided an opportunity to challenge the deceptively handsome, technically demanding variety of galantine de volaille en chaud-froid.

John McEnroe experienced the same daunting rivalry on a conceptual English putting green in the late 1970’s against prodigal heart-throb fashion doll Björn Borg.  As with any other seemingly dreamy, follicular tête à tête sporting snug 3” inseams and terrycloth headbands, tempers are likely to flare, more so when the senior competitor’s enviable golden locks, soothing turquoise eyes and frighteningly consistent strokes stoke the coals of a defeated tantrum.

Cool has been lost on several occasions, when firm temperament put the motherfucking kibosh on the occasional shittiest pastry and aspic known to humanity.  However, failures gradually shifted towards winnings, the equilibrium payoff of improved theory & practice, eventually ensuring results well within the margins of success, awesomeness and horny girls’ adoration column.  A veritable cootie-catcher of inevitable victory permutations, though a winningest champion who has built an epic career trademarked by sang-froid and imperviousness to stress will have  a melt-down for the fans when absolute perfection is not achieved, affirming that even a master craftsman invariably blames his tools.

Green Gene, mean sausage machine.

Sister was in town for a brief visit from Notsofunnyland and nothing more than the be all end all of hopelessly dated grandiose E-coli-free chicken whimsy would fit the bill for making her visit worthwhile (fostering Mr. Cuddlesworth  notwithstanding), though mustard green sausages were an enticing opening act.

A chicken only agents Mulder & Scully and Gonzo the Great could love.

Chicken was obtained from a reputablish Latin grocer in exchange for currency and a genuine appreciation for meringue music.  Extremities were lopped off, the skeleton ripped out with a forceful hand à la Predator, stock made with said bones, bla-bla-bla, same ol’ song and dance.  Eviscerated bird was brined in a 3% salt brine (1.5%  sugar, aromatics).

Fowl bondage.

Forcemeat was made from pork, chicken trimmings, its offal, fatback, pistachios, figs, foie gras & truffle mousse scraps, Muppet tenderloins, Dutch Guilders, and a rose of a different name.  Pork and chicken trimming were ground twice and supplemented by an egg puréed with the bird’s liver.  Seasoning and curing salt was measured by the weight of the forcemeat and its garnishes using a sextant, just like Shackleton did on his way to South Georgia island fromElephant  Island.  No small feat, especially in a windowless basement.

Crop-circle chicken upholstery.

After stuffing and trussing the creature, it was launched into the stockpot (gooseneck –fade away) and left to simmer until the inside reached 160ºF.  Took a long time.  Didn’t want to boil too hard as I was afraid the skin and remaining bones (wings and drumsticks) would fall apart.  It was left to cool in the stock and then refrigerated while the chaud-froid was fabricated.  A white roux was cooked, heated stock whisked in, gelatin added, strained, cooled, tasted and tested for strength.  After an extreme (look out, Dan Cortese) coating of chaud-froid, excesses and cosmetic imperfections were melted away with extremely gentle wafts of heat from a butane torch.  And of course the ubiquitous fluted mushrooms, whittled turnips and brightly glazed radishes.

Court-side with Stanley Kubrick. (nice booties, blondie)

Sister has an affinity for Venn diagrams, an appreciation of which would inspire the decoration.  The brightest natural colors and workable textures are extracted from bell peppers.  The pepper are carefully selected by shaking them like maracas to see if they have any loose change in them, boiled, peeled and cut to specifications, in this case a variety of overlapping circles which would also, coincidentally, suggest the “joie de vivre” painting by French abstract artist Robert Delaunay, whose nationality we all share (with tremendous, fiery enthusiasm).  Look too close and you might get hypnotized and crap sideways for a week.  Seriously.

Inedible abstract joy of living.

After attentively adorning the critter with deliberately alternative, meticulously cut anit-Mondrian  colored discs, the thing was given a proper shellacking of aspic followed by the butane torch once-over to smooth out any unsightly bulges.

Dissecting the game.

Overall, the chaud-froid could have used more salt and the forcemeat could have benefited from more aggressive cooking.  Slow cookery may have made the forcemeat mealy rather than firm, giving it a somewhat unpleasant texture.  The chicken itself was delightful as far as poached chicken goes.  While not a championship win in straight sets, it was a respectable qualifying endeavor.  Notes have been taken and the tapes have been studied.  Training is under way for summer’s 2.0 galantine; special argyle rainbow chard edition.