Going to a restaurant is more than sharing time with a loved one over a great glass of wine and a delicious meal, it is about R&D. Where do they get their bread from? Do you like this menu layout? Who designed this glass? Where is the acid coming from in this dish? (That is an actual question my husband has asked me) The ultimate R&D comes from when a highly respected restaurant releases a cookbook. If you have ever tried to make a dish from one of these books you know just how tricky it can be. They don’t quite give you all of the ingredients or explain the techniques to a deep degree. It is like embarking on a treasure hunt, you are not sure what you are going to get. But man, the pictures are great!
My husband and I decided that since a buddy of ours is going to stage at Noma, the #1 restaurant in world, that we would take the excuse to play with the Noma cookbook. We invited him and his girlfriend over and found ourselves attempting beef tartar with rapini leaves, tarragon, and juniper berries. The recipe recommended to cut the beef in thin strips as opposed to the normal chopped tartar. The difference in technique made for a unique texture that was pleasantly surprising. A tarragon sauce was made, it was thick, the color of bright grass and added a lovely creaminess to the dish. The juniper berries were toasted and then ground. The “dust” not only increased the look of the dish but provided a subtle flavor that was intriguing. Shockingly my favorite part was the simplest…rye bread crumbs that they suggested to top the tartar. I loved the crunch!! It made me happy! If you ever make tartar…add toasted bread crumbs, you will not regret it.
The dish came together in such a beautiful way that you understood immediately how it would be a crowd pleaser. It made us all stand in awe at the idea of Noma and the possibility of cooking in that kitchen. Once we had made the tartar the real way we all took a moment to plate our own dish. Mine was the more free-spirited one …can you tell? What can I say, I was feeling swirly that night.