BLT Prime: Valentine’s Cooking Class

BLT Prime
111 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10022

  

I went to a “Valentine’s” Cooking Class at BLT Prime where Chef Andrew Matthews sort-of taught us how to make a proper 3-course meal consisting of:

Appetizer: Fluke Carpaccio
Entree: Chateaubriand
Side Dishes: Creamy Spinach, Marble Heirloom Potatoes
Dessert: Red Velvet Cake

  

The class ended up being a demonstration with no hands-on interaction.  This was probably a good move on the restaurant’s part because I’m not sure any of us would be back if we had to eat what we cooked… every dish was more complicated than I thought it would be!  It was amazing to see the kitchen and to learn about how a real restaurant kitchen functions.  You have to be super organized and work as a team or else the kitchen will most likely turn into a nasty food fight!  Actually, apparently kitchens end up looking like the aftermath of a food fight even after a successful night in the kitchen.

 

FLUKE CARPACCIO – slightly chaotic but tasty nonetheless (2/5)

  

The fluke was filled and sprinkled with all kinds of yummy ingredients, such as pomelo, dill pickles, celery heart stalks, apple gelee, paprika, chives, olive oil, lime juice and zest, AND secret basil oil sauce… they also added some house-made rice paper to give the dish a little crunch.  There was all kinds of flavors and textures in this dish, some I think a little unnecessary… it was sweet and sour and salty and oily and crispy and stringy (fish :().

 

CHATEAUBRIAND – Liberal Salt (Ch 4/5)

The preparation for the Chateaubriand (a thick cut of tenderloin) seemed very simple though probably takes a lot of skill to do right.  Chef Matthews demonstrated the tying of the piece of tenderloin to allow the whole piece of steak to cook evenly.  The steak is then seasoned very liberally with salt and pepper and seared for 4-5 minutes.  Then the seared steak is placed in a FULL dish of salt and roasted for 8 minutes on each side.  The steak turned out very moist, tender, and flavorful.  For some reason, the steak wasn’t as “meaty” tasting as Peter Luger’s Porterhouse steak.  That may be due to the cut of meat…?

  

The steak is then served with a classic Bearnaise sauce, which is made with 20 egg yolks, 1 cup of bearnaise reduction (of shallots, white wine vinegar, white wine, black pepper, and tarragon leaves), 1 qt. warm clarified butter, 1 cup warm water, and salt.

 

SIDES – BEST part of meal (S 5/5, P 5/5)

  
These sides were crazily delicious.  The creamy spinach was made with baby spinach shipped over from California – and wait, before you make a pretentious judgement, the reason they ship it over from CA is because the yield is much greater!  You only need two batches to yield the photographed amount, whereas the baby spinach here would require a much, much larger portion.  Less pretentious when it’s about getting more bang for your buck, right?  The spinach is basically doused in a bechamel sauce, which is a white sauce  made with milk, butter, flour, sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  The spinach is first boiled in salt water, drained, and placed in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Then the spinach is combined with browned butter, garlic, bechamel sauce, and gruyere cheese.  Chef Matthews also added spinach puree to give the dish a more pungent “spinach” flavor and intense color.

These marbled potatoes were deeeeeeeeelicious.  Marble potatoes are basically baby potatoes – potatoes that are dug up while still young and “marble sized.”  The potatoes are boiled with salt until about 3/4 cooked.  They are then mixed with a gluttonous butter, bacon fat, rosemary, parsley, chive, and diced bacon concoction… and sauteed until they begin to brown… I’m salivating.

CARBIES – WARM! (T 3/5, P 4.5/5)

I hate it when places serve cold bread with cold butter.  If the butter has to be cold, at least warm up the bread.  Luckily, BLT Prime does it right!  Warm bread and whipped butter, even better for spreading.  Not just a normal dinner roll either, BLT Prime serves up toast with chicken liver pate and gruyere cheese popovers with whipped butter and sea salt!  Yummmmm…. we didn’t have time to learn how to make the popovers but was able to secure a recipe.

Yield: 12 Popovers

4 cups warmed milk
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 heaping tablespoon salt
2 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
popover pan

Preheat pan in oven at 350 degrees.  Gently warm milk over low heat and then take off heat and set aside.  Whisk eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk.  Set the mixture of milk and eggs aside.  Sift the flour with salt.  Slowly add the flour/salt to the eggs/milk.  Gently combine until smooth.  Once combined remove the hot popover pan from the oven and spray with a non-stick vegetable spray.  While batter is still warm, fill each part of the popover pan 3/4 the way full.  Top each popover cup with approx. 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes rotating the pan a half turn every 15 minutes.  Serve immediately!

DESSERT – (RV 3/5, Ch 4.5/5)

  

BLT Prime is a steakhouse, so I wasn’t expecting their desserts to be out of this world.  Having said that, the desserts were decent.  The red velvet cake was made as a little four-layer cake, each layer separated by a thin blanket of cream cheese frosting.  Both the cake and the cream cheese frosting were very, very sweet.  The white chocolate ice cream that they paired on the side was even more sweet.  Overall, sugar overload.  The chocolate cake, on the other hand, was extremely bitter.  It almost seems too bitter initially until you try the amazing sweet alcoholic ice-cream (not sure what it was).  The pair worked very nicely together and was a nice bittersweet dessert to end the meal.

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