not salmon, for a change. just plain halibut. a nice slutty bit of a pound, pan roasted on bread crumbs in olive oil, with a brush of walnut. as a side dish i made braised fennel, a recipe adopted from david waltuck’s restaurant, that fabulous ‘chanterelle’, where the famous designed covers and a lot of not so famous simply ate dinner, or even lunch.
i have eaten at that place long time ago, way back in the early eighties, when it was first at grand and greene. this then was not the hood for fine dining, but a rough and funky dark soho neighborhood. believe me, in new york a first time makes always for the best time, especially when it comes to a superb joint like this. so, david cooked, if you can call such glorious fare cooking and wife karen tended the house. what a fortuitous combination, sublime elegance and inventive cuisine. sad to see the place become mortal. what’s left is the imagination, the thought of then, and now the book. for me as a food junkie in ravenous pursuit of dishes i can do on my stove, the chanterelle book is a treasure to stay, right on the top shelf of my food library. the book is wonderfully photographed by a former colleague, maria robledo. what beautiful, stylish work. thank you. and thank you david waltuck, for your inspirations, it will be fun to work my way through your kitchen.
but back to braised fennel. i found young fennel, small bulbs with luscious feathery leaves. which is about all the change i made on my own. the recipe itself is pretty straight forward, butter, salt, pepper, chicken broth, a spoon of pastis and lemon juice. i used granier, but ricard will do as well. braising the fennel is a twenty minute or so affair. tender fennel pierces easily and you might be reduce the liquid a little longer, until it owns that sensuously syrupy liquid. it feels right next to a juicy lush piece of halibut. granted it’s a small dish, nothing much to prepare, but the eating, the flavors of lickerish anise in the fennel with the touch of walnut on the fish, oh, well, i’ll leave it at that and hope you might get the notion on your own.