Coffee Chat and Bouillabaisse with Paul Kahan

Last night, I was lured out of my newborn nest to attend an irresistible foodie event: an intimate discussion and recipe demonstration with Paul Kahan, executive chef and partner of Blackbird, Avec, and Publican, three delicious trendsetting restaurants in Chicago. For those of you out of the Chicago area, Kahan was noted in the NY Times last January as part of the Nifty Fifty. The article began with, “Sorry New York, Chicago has something you’ll never have: Paul Kahan’s food.”

Executive Chef Paul KahanKahan was down to earth, and eager to answer any questions we threw at him. We talked about his plans to “go rogue” and push the envelope on the dismal food truck situation in Chicago, his disdain of Twitter and Facebook, and what he cooks at home with his wife. He even took the time to answer me when I threw out his most hated question, about the latest food trends he’s seeing. (His answer, food trends are irrelevant. What’s important is good service and good food, regardless of how cliched that sounds.)

And then he cooked for us. First he whipped up a fish stock, then he made a bouillabaisse, chock full of halibut, clams, shrimp, and mussels. It had just a hint of heat from the sriracha he liberally doused over the soup, and was the prefect weeknight dinner: healthy, flavorful, and downright exciting. I’ll be repeating it at home very soon.

The event was sponsored by Nescafe Dolce Gusto, the latest entrant in the home cappucino and espresso drink machine category. I sampled the Caramel Latte Macchiatto which was as good as it was pretty. I’ve sampled quite a few of these machines, and this is the fanciest looking drink yet. It magically creates a thick foam at the top with the coffee down below, a great after dinner party trick. The PR team promised to send us each a machine to try at home, and I’m hoping they’ll let me give one away to my readers as well, so one of you will have the chance to try it.

Made it out of the house for the event, but forgot my camera. Excuse the phone pic!

Recipe: Paul Kahan’s Bouillabaisse Recipe

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 15 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and julienned
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, julienned
  • 3 lbs of red new potatoes, sliced into inch coins
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of Saffron
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes, drain half the liquid and crush
  • 1 gallon of fish fumet (see below), brought to a simmer
  • 1 cup Pernod (Pastis)
  • 2 TBSPs Sriracha
  • 1/8 cup of Parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of Thyme, chopped
  • 1 lb of white fish
  • 20 Littleneck Clams
  • 2 lbs of Mussels
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, onion, fennel, potatoes, and bay leaf; stir to coat.
  3. Cover and cook over medium low until the potatoes begin to soften, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Turn heat to high and stir in saffron and tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add fish fumet.
  6. Continue to cook over high heat until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Add fish, clams, mussels and shrimp in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Add your mussels and clams first to give them a chance to open up and release their juices.
  8. Finish dish with Pernod and sriracha, and season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Recipe: Fish Fume

Summary: (jotted down from demo)

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of bones of non-oily fish such as Halibut or WhiteFish
  • 1 orange
  • 1 carrot, peeled and very roughly chopped
  • 2 celery, very roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped as well
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into quarters
  • salt, pepper, and assorted spices to your liking

Instructions

  1. Break the fish bones into a few pieces, making sure you are wearing gloves to protect yourself from cut. Run them under cold water to eviscerate them (get rid of all the blood). Just love that word: eviscerate. So primal.
  2. Place the broken and eviscerated (there it is again!) fish bones in a large stock pot.
  3. Add the vegetables.
  4. Cut the orange in half, squeeze the juice on top of the bones, and throw the orange skin into the pot as well.
  5. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and seasonings.
  6. Cover with as much cold water as your stock pot will hold. Bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes. Strain.
  7. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer indefinitely.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

 

 

 

3 Responses to Coffee Chat and Bouillabaisse with Paul Kahan

  1. I’ve not been known to turn down many dishes with seafood so this sounds tasty and the event sounds equally fun. I have to admit I haven’t tried any at home espresso drink machines, I’m doubtful of the quality, but willing to be proven wrong.

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