Get the Recipes: Pistachio-crusted Rack of Lamb • Mascarpone Polenta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto • Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette • Bouillabaisse • Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras • Cranberry Cake
Eric has recruited Mick and Chelsea to prepare the bouillabaisse. As the musician assesses the chef’s bevy of knives, Eric says, “I had a knife that I used so much that, after all the sharpening, it whittled to nothing. Finally had to give it up.” Mick responds, “That reminds me of a cymbal I used till it cracked and looked like [Swiss] cheese. I’d cut away the shards of metal, then continue to use it. Finally, sadly, I had to get rid of it when there was nothing left of it. The tools of the trade become the things that are dear to you.”
After the aromatic vegetables, saffron and lobster stock have simmered and concentrated, Eric purées the entirety in a Vitamix, then has Mick pour it into a fine chinois strainer, pressing the solids to squeeze out every drop of stock. Diane comments, “This is a huge process!” Chelsea laughs, “That’s why we eat at Fleetwood’s!”
“It is a lot of work,” Eric admits, “but we do this because we don’t thicken any of our sauces with flour-based roux due to gluten sensitivity.” Watching as the chef adds the fish to the stock, John Giordani, MNKO’s art director, asks, “Can you overcook the fish?” Eric replies, “You can add the mahi, monchong, and snapper for a maximum half hour on low heat. But add the shellfish a few minutes before serving, because they will get tough.”
Beef tenderloin, esteemed for its tenderness and flavor, rocks today’s menu, along with seared duck foie gras and duck-fat-basted new potatoes. Donning gloves, Eric separates the meat from the fat and the silver. An accomplished prep cook, Diane wields the sharp filet knife, sliding it beneath the silver skin. Minutes later, the beef is ready for a pan sear and oven roasting.