Jan 16, 201410:13 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Cauliflower, Breakfast and Bistro Fare

A recipe and two restaurant updates for your Thursday.

Cassoulet from Martinique Bistro

I love fresh cauliflower, and locally-raised heads of the vegetable are readily available this time of year. The only problem I have, really, is that one good-sized cauliflower is far more than my wife and I are going to eat in one sitting. My 19-month-old can put far more away than you'd think to look at her, but our 12-year-old and 7-year-old aren't interested and I typically end up with a good bit left over.

So when I picked up a pretty big cauliflower the other day, I decided to plan ahead. I separated the florets and poached the whole thing; that night I baked about half of the florets in a cheese sauce. It's a very simple dish, but hard to beat. My “plan” didn't go much further than, “save the other half of the par-cooked florets,” but a day or two later I came up with what turned out to be a pretty swell idea.

I'm not going to pretend that my idea is novel; I don't remember reading a recipe, but I read a lot of recipes and when I did a quick search before writing this article, I eventually found a few similar takes. I took about a cup of par-cooked cauliflower and simmered it in a little broth until it was completely tender. Then I puréed that in a blender and combined it with some more broth to make what looked like slightly thickened milk. I ended up with about 4 cups of this liquid (3 cups of broth plus a little more than 1 cup of purée), and that was the perfect amount to cook 1 cup of Arborio rice.

Other than the purée, the technique was the same as any other risotto: sweat a little minced onion or shallot in some butter, add the rice and cook a bit, then slowly add liquid while stirring and wrap it up with some grated cheese when the rice is tender.

Cauliflower doesn't have a terribly assertive flavor, so it's a recipe you can pair with just about anything. I served it with a roasted chicken and some sautéed greens, but it would work with lamb chops, a steak, pork loin or pan-roasted drum for that matter.

In other news, Florida-based breakfast chain Another Broken Egg Cafe has opened a location at 2917 Magazine St., and is set to open a second restaurant at 607 Harrison Ave. in February. I wouldn't ordinarily mention news about chain restaurants, but there's a local connection in that the first of the 28 cafes opened in Mandeville in 1996, and New Orleans native Kevin Armantrout is the president of the company that's managing the new outlets. That, and the fact that among the most frequent questions I get are “Where's a good place to get breakfast?” prompted me to take a second look when I received the press release recently. The restaurant will be open Sunday and Monday from 7 to 2, and Tuesday through Saturday from 7 to 8. Call (504) 301-2771 for more information.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Martinique Bistro, and the restaurant is celebrating with a menu that is pure French – grilled duck sausage with a celery root remoulade; escargot in puff pastry with garlic and walnut-herb purée; frisee salad with lardons and poached egg; coq au vin; cassoulet and sweetbreads with lemon, caper and a potato pancake are just some of the options. Executive Chef Eric Labouchere is from Australia originally, but grew up in Belgium, so comes to the food honestly. He and sous chef Nat Carrier have been running the show at Martinique for a few years now, and they're hitting on all cylinders these days. The throwback menu will run through Valentine's day. Martinique is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and for brunch on the weekend. Call (504) 891-8495 to find out more or to make a reservation.

 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived here his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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