The second installment of “A Very Thomas Keller Thanksgiving”
Our dinner at the French Laundry wasn’t the first dining experience my husband and I had at a Thomas Keller restaurant.
We hadn’t been married more than a year when we spent a spontaneous three-day weekend in Vegas. The trip was a blast — we saw a Cirque du Soleil show, had a fancy dinner at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante and even took a rather hilarious gondola ride through the Venetian hotel. You’ll notice the one thing we didn’t do — gamble.
Neither of us is really into casinos and the only chips we put down were the two free ones we got from the front desk when we checked in. The trip — like our lives — focused on food, ending in a fantastically elegant meal at Bouchon a few hours before we left town.
That meal would end up being our downfall.
Oh, the food was spectacular, the service was incredible and we even got an impromptu tour of the kitchen. We had such a good time that we waited a little too long before catching a cab to the airport. Tipsy off too many good cocktails, I remember vividly racing through the airport, zipping through security and laughing gleefully when we realized we had plenty of time left before boarding.
Looking to kill time, we wandered over to a small gathering of slot machines and thought we’d spend our change in a Vegas-appropriate manner. We kept an ear out for news of our flight but after twenty minutes or so, when we hadn’t heard any updates, we walked over to the desk at the gate.
That’s when we were informed that the gate had changed and our flight had already left. Apparently they had called our names several times over the intercom, but the dings and blings from the slots had effectively shushed any announcements.
After much freaking out (I had just started my current job a few months before and was scared I’d be late the next morning), we ended up catching a flight to Seattle. From there we rented a truck and my husband drove us the rest of the way to Portland. I think we got home around 6 am, two hours before my shift started. Talk about a case of the Mondays…
Anyways…that’s my Bouchon story!
The fact that I can still say the whole experience was worth it (ten times over) should attest to how great the meal was.
So, with that digression, I lead you to the second course in my Thomas Keller-inspired Thanksgiving, these seared scallops paired with citrus-braised endive from the Bouchon cookbook. (In case you missed it, our dinner started with Oysters & Pearls from Keller’s French Laundry cookbook.)
Unlike our appetizer, this course couldn’t have been easier. The prep is minimal and (if you don’t count the overnight salting of the endive) it is ready to serve in around 30 minutes.
Salting the endive seems high maintenance but it won’t take more than a few moments. Simply cut a bit of the core out of each head and submerge the bottoms in salt. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. This process helps draw out any bitterness from the endive.
Plus they look pretty adorable all lined up!
The next day the endive is trimmed up and then sliced thinly. It cooks slowly in a combination of orange juice, chicken stock, garlic, honey and herbs until just tender with a slight bite.
The sauce is mounted with butter, resulting in a gloriously tangy but rich sauce that pairs perfectly with scallops seared over high heat. While Oysters & Pearls looks and tastes like you spent all day on it, this dish seems effortless and simple, but it will wow you just the same.