"I enjoyed Walnut Grove and I got a lot out of it. The instruction is well
designed as an advanced course in as much as it focuses on the things that
underlie good cooking. The emphasis is not so much on putting food on the
plate as on the elements and processes that are the foundation of great
dishes. I also liked the emphasis on menu planning and pushing the students
to create their own dishes.
Maynard and Benedict inspire confidence, and they are highly personable and
a pleasure to learn from. I also think that, outside of the kitchen, they
run a good establishment so the "off-duty" hours are spent in ease and
I'd be happy to recommend Walnut Grove's advanced course to anyone who wants
to do some serious cooking in a pleasing environment."
1. Prepare Vierge dressing first. Finely chop the shallots, skin and de-seed the tomatoes, and cut into 5ml squares. Add chopped herbs, crushed garlic & lemon juice and cover with olive oil in a clean bowl. Season to taste.
2. For the crushed new potatoes, wash the potatoes but don't peel them, gently simmer in salted water until cooked. Drain, scrape off the skins and gently crush with a fork. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the vierge dressing, and salt & pepper to taste.
3. To cook the fish fillets, heat a frying pan until hot, add a little olive oil and place the fillets skin side down in the pan.
The fillets will want to curl up as they begin to cook so gently hold them flat with a pallet knife or your hand until the fillets relax.
4. Maintaining a high heat cook the fish on the skin side down until the fish is half cooked. Turn it over and cook for a further minute then turn the pan off and leave the fillets to rest in the pan.
5. To put the dish together; while the fish is resting heat the potatoes either in a microwave or in a non-stick frying pan (do not color the potatoes). Place the potatoes in a cutter in the middle of your bowl or plate, and gently press into shape, remove cutter, place fish fillets on top of the potatoes and drizzle with Vierge dressing and garnish with fresh herbs.
Great main course, or serve a smaller portion as a starter. A very light fresh tasting dish.
The only thing that can really be prepared in advance is the Vierge dressing, this improves with age so is best made a couple of days before.
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Experience the reality of gourmet cooking yourself. There is only one way to learn and that is to do it! Top chefs, luxury accommodation, set in France - the home of gourmet cuisine; what more could you ask for?
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