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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Blais’

By The Book: Richard Blais’ Moroccan Tuna Bolognese

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013



I won’t lie; this book intimidated me. I had watched mad scientist Richard Blais on Top Chef, wielding an iSi siphon and liquid nitrogen the way most chefs work with microplanes and an immersion blender. The title of Blais’ book, Try This at Home, wasn’t so much a challenge as a taunt. I don’t own an immersion circulator, and agar-agar is most definitely missing from my pantry.

Thankfully, Blais recognizes that most home cooks don’t have access to his arsenal of kitchen toys. Many of his recipes are familiar ideas with a weird flavor twist, but their execution is straightforward. But if you’re just dying to use your fancy new smoking gun, don’t fret. Many recipes feature “2.0” options, ideas to take your dish to the next level with more advanced – and expensive – equipment.

After several rounds of flipping through the book, I decided to try his Moroccan Tuna Bolognese, a rift on his traditional Bolognese sauce. The combination of Moroccan spices, tuna steak, orange zest and linguini seemed odd enough to be challenging, but the cooking techniques (and required equipment) stayed in my comfort zone. At first, I couldn’t imagine lopping the gorgeous purple tuna into pieces and frying it in a pan, but that’s what Blais required. So begging the sushi gods’ forgiveness, I minced, sliced and browned appropriately.




The recipe’s one flaw is that it is unclear when to add the fish. At first, it seems like all the tuna should be simmered together in the sauce. However, it later calls for the chunks (not the mince) to be added with the olives and orange zest. Ultimately, I split the difference, simmering with the minced tuna and adding the chunks near the end.




I wasn’t sure how seafood, even a strong fish like tuna, would stand up to an onslaught of so many different flavors: tomato, cinnamon, lemon, cumin, balsamic vinegar and more. But ultimately, the clean tuna flavor came through it all, creating a refreshing (if citrusy) twist on a traditionally heavy sauce.




While it was a fun take on a classic dish, you can save quite a bit of time and cash by substituting pricey tuna steak for a good-quality packaged tuna. After all, if I’m spending that kind of money on fish, it’s getting a light sear and keeping some of that vibrant color.




Richard Blais’ Moroccan Tuna Bolognese
6 to 8 Servings

3 6- to 8-oz. tuna steaks
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely minced
1 stalk celery, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbsp. Moroccan spice blend or 1 tsp. each ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup dry sherry or red wine
2 cups tomato sauce
¼ cup pitted Picholine or other green olives, roughly chopped
2 tsp. grated orange zest, plus more for garnish
1 lb. linguine
Juice of half a lemon
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup mixed fresh dill, parsley and basil, chopped

• Grind or very finely mince 1 tuna steak. Cut the other 2 steaks into ½-inch chunks.
• In a large deep heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the tuna and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon and stirring vigorously until it’s no longer pink and begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the tuna with a slotted spoon and set aside.
• Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan and saute, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Moroccan spices, bay leaf, salt and pepper, stir and cook for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and cook and stir until it begins to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and sherry, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
• Add the tomato sauce and cooked tuna and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sauce is very thick, 25 to 30 minutes.
• Stir in the tuna chunks, green olives and orange zest, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, stir well, and taste to adjust the seasoning.
• Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Add the linguine, stir and cook until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove ½ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
• Add the pasta to the sauce, then add the lemon juice and half the feta and herbs. Toss the pasta with the sauce until well coated. If the sauce is very thick, add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until loosened.
• To serve, transfer the pasta to warm shallow bowls or a large platter. Sprinkle the remaining feta and herbs and some orange zest over the pasta and serve.

Reprinted with permission by Clarkson Potter Publishers

What kitchen toy would you splurge on and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of Try This at Home by Richard Blais. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate April, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Fire in My Belly by Kevin Gillespie. April, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.





Serious for Cereal

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

As a 19-year-old, I can’t help but admit how sleek I feel to finally be an adult with financial responsibilities and no mom-and-dad rules to follow. (I also still get a kick out of calling adults by their first names!) However, some parts of me really don’t change; I’m not ashamed to confess that my food of choice is still cereal.

As much as I enjoy chomping through bowls of sugary cereal in the privacy of my own home, as of late (in my new adult life), I have found myself wishing there were restaurants that incorporated my favorite crunchy carb.

Enter my Sauce internship.

After doing some research on the celebrity chef, Richard Blais, I stumbled upon what might be the greatest homage to the blessed boxed breakfast. At Blais’ restaurant Flip Burger Boutique, he serves Captain Crunch milkshakes crafted with liquid nitrogen. Captain Crunch and milkshakes? Two foods that I ravenously binge on when I need to raise my serotonin levels – placed in harmony? Perfection.

Unfortunately, this drink can only be found hundreds of miles away in Atlanta. So I set out to find a suitable substitute.

After scouring menus, I discovered that Sanctuaria recently featured chocolate chip cookies with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch ganache, but it was only on the menu as a temporary dessert. I also found that Strange Donuts is planning on featuring a Captain Crunch doughnut, but alas, this Maplewood doughnut shop hasn’t yet opened. I was going to have to get creative.

Eventually, I found a worthy treat at Fitz’s in The Loop: the S’mores float.

Although the S’mores float is a play on the backyard bonfire treat, it reminds me of one of my favorite cereals, Kellogg’s Smorz; therefore, I am counting it. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional dessert or Smorz cereal, this float is a must-try in every regard.

The S’mores float successfully spreads the joy out across a freezing cold mug, beginning with cream soda and building upwards to chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, Hershey’s chocolate sauce and an artfully placed graham cracker on top. The best part, though, is the fluff. This sticky paste was so good that I timed how I ate all the other ingredients to make sure that it was in every bite. As much as I would love to see 100 more floats that incorporate my favorite cereals, for now, this one does the trick.

Have you found any dishes or desserts at local restaurants that incorporate cereal? If you have, let us know where! 

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents a morning with Richard Blais

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Attention St. Louis foodophiles and Top Chef aficionados, crack open your March calendars because Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais is coming to The Lou.

As part of our Sauce Celebrity Chef Series, Blais will join us on March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at The Market at The Cheshire. While attendees munch on fresh treats provided by The Market, Blais will provide demonstrations of his expert cooking techniques. From his winning Top Chef dishes (Remember his cornbread with foie gras ice cream and whipped mango?) to his use of liquid nitrogen, ready all your burning questions, for Blais will also be conducting a Q&A session.

Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased here. A ticket includes savory snacks and a signed-copy of Blais’ new cookbook, Try This At Home. Want more Blais? Also on March 30, The Cheshire is hosting a dinner with Blais; find more details here.

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