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The High-End Party: Gilded to Perfection

The Royal Treatment
Daniel Boulud’s fish-and-game feast.

The Menu

• Salad of Sable Confit and Smoked Sable With a Yogurt Dressing
WINE: Domaine Trimbach, Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2000
• Roasted Venison Saddle With Barberry Jus and Fall Vegetables
WINE: Château La Mission Haut-Brion 1998
• Chocolate Cupcakes With Chestnut Confit Mousse and Chocolate Sauce
WINE: Taylor’s twenty-year tawny portholiday food 2006

Salad of Sable Confit and Smoked Sable With a Yogurt Dressing

1 liter extra-virgin olive oil
4 whole star anises
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large celery root, peeled and halved; 1/2 cut into 3/4-inch cubes, the rest in fine julienne
1 1/2 pounds black-cod fillet with skin on
3/4 pound smoked sable, skin and bones removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cubed

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive

1 1/2 teaspoon ground za’atar (available from Kalustyan’s; 212-685-3451)
Salt and ground black pepper

3 endives, rinsed and separated
1 head of radicchio di Treviso, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 frisée lettuces, rinsed
2 stalks fresh celery with leaves, stalks thinly sliced, leaves separated
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Add the olive oil, star anise, thyme, lemon zest, and cubed celery root to a high-sided braising pan and set over low heat. When the temperature reaches 140 degrees (use a cooking thermometer), add the black-cod fillets, making sure they are just covered with oil. Cook for about 30 minutes, maintaining the oil at 140 degrees, until the fish starts to flake. Remove the fish, and drain on a sheet pan. Continue to cook the celery until tender, then remove and set aside. Once the black cod is cool, flake it into large pieces and set aside.

DRESSING: In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, and za’atar. Season to taste. In another bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the dressing with the celery-root julienne and toss well to coat. Season to taste, and set aside for at least 1 hour. In a bowl, toss the diced smoked sable with just enough dressing to coat. Toss the Treviso and frisée lettuce with enough dressing to coat, and season to taste. Arrange equal amounts of celery-root julienne in the center of each plate, top with the black-cod confit followed by the smoked sable. Place some of the Treviso and frisée to one side. Drizzle a little of the dressing around the fish. Garnish with the endive spears, confit of celery root, sliced celery stalks and leaves, and sprinkle toasted sesame over each salad.

Roasted Venison Saddle With Barberry Jus and Fall Vegetables

2 quarts chicken stock
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 bunches radishes, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red onions, quartered
1 pound black-trumpet mushrooms, cleaned
2 shallots, finely diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups baby mustard greens

1 whole fallow venison saddle on the bone, trimmed, or half a larger saddle (about 6 pounds) (available from Ottomanelli & Sons; 212-675-4217)
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 head garlic, cut horizontally
1 tablespoon whole juniper berries

1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle red wine (75 cl.)
1 bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, and bay leaf)
1 teaspoon whole juniper berries
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons barberries (available from Kalustyan’s)

VEGETABLES: In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add sweet potatoes, simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Remove them, and use the same stock to blanch the Brussels sprouts and radishes for about 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside. Discard stock.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the onion wedges on a sheet pan with 2 tablespoons oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss together. Roast the onions for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside.

VENISON: Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Season the venison with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large roasting pan over medium heat and sear the venison evenly on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Add the butter, and place the venison in the oven. After 10 minutes, baste the meat with the pan juices and add thyme, rosemary, garlic, and juniper. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees, basting often (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the saddle). Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and set aside.

SAUCE: Meanwhile, place sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to caramelize, carefully pour in orange juice and reduce by a third. Add the red wine, bouquet garni, and juniper, and continue cooking until reduced to a third. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large fry pan set over medium heat, add the black trumpets, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the diced shallots, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Remove the mushrooms, and wipe the pan with a paper towel. Add the butter; when melted, place the sprouts cut side down in the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the blanched sweet potatoes, radishes, and sautéed black trumpets, and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. Remove the venison from roasting pan and set aside. Pour off excess fat, and place over medium heat, add the chicken stock, and simmer, whisking until the pan juices and particles have dissolved. Pour the pan juices into the wineľorange juice mixture; bring to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan, add barberries, remove from heat, and whisk in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep hot. Place venison saddle on a heated serving platter; arrange the vegetables and mustard-green leaves around it. Spoon a little of the sauce over the meat. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Chocolate Cup Cakes With Chestnut Confit Mousse and Chocolate Sauce

Chestnut Confit Mousse
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup chestnut spread with vanilla (available from Kalustyan’s)
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish: 8 glace chestnuts, gold leaf, and chocolate shavings

The day before, split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the inside with a small knife. In a bowl, combine the scraped vanilla bean contents with the chestnut spread and mix well until smooth and soft.

Whip crème fraîche and heavy cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold in chestnut mixture until completely incorporated. Cover and chill overnight.

Chocolate Chocolate Cup Cakes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 small pinch baking powder
1/3 cup plus +1 tablespoon cocoa powder, (preferably Valrhona)
1/2 cup eggs (about 2 large eggs)
1 1/2 cups hot butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder.

Beat the eggs together with 1 1/4 cups water in a small bowl, and then slowly whisk them into the flour mixture. Add the hot butter, and stir until well combined.

Fill the lined cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter, and bake for about 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. (The recipe makes about 18 cupcakes.; extras will keep well as they are very moist)

Chocolate Sauce
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)

In a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook until reduced by one quarter. Set aside to cool.

Assembly: Cut off the top of each cupcake to create a flat surface. With a small, star- shaped pastry tip, pipe the chestnut-confit mousse over the top of each cupcake, in a circular pattern. Place a whole chestnut confit on top of the mousse, and garnish with chocolate shavings. If feeling extravagant, top the chestnut can be topped with gold leaf.

Serve with chocolate sauce on the side.