In preparation for the second class of the semester, I ‘tried’ to practice all the recipes at home. My wonderfully supportive husband accompanied me on a weekend mission zig-zagging across Sydney to buy some of the less available ingredients. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the loin of venison I needed but have since found a supplier close to where I work (go figure!)
Very little butchering was done by the class in Lesson 2 of Meat, it was limited to ‘frenching’ (clean scrapping of the bone) the Pork Cutlet. This week Chef demonstrated; how to prepare the loin of venison, break down the rib loin into cutlets and break down the shoulder of pork which was minced and used in our Boudin.
The first task was to trim the cutlet and then marinate the venison in readiness to sous vide. Next the salad ingredients were prepared. All through the mise-en-place Chef spoke about the end product, and what the plate of food would look like. Presentation is of key importance at this stage of the course and this is something I really need to improve upon. The Pork Cutlet I was given was quite thin and not good for a ‘standing to attention’ presentation (well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). Pork is quite lean, especially so after we have removed all the fat to make a clean cutlet, so the desired cook is medium rare. The aim was a temperature between 60 – 65c, 63c using a meat probe is perfect.
Every Chef I have had at TAFE has deviated in some way or another from the standard recipe provided. I am glad that I did some practice at home as my preference regarding Panzanella Salad is a more rustic version than the one we made in class. I love this Tuscan chopped salad of bread, onions, tomatoes, olives and basil; it’s summer on a plate! Chef’s salad, and therefore mine in class, was made of a smaller dice of vegetables and bread, around 1 cm, whereas I prefer it larger so as the croutons soak up the lovely juices (recipe below). Chef also chose not to marinate the cutlet (asked for in the recipe) which I did in my practice at home. I don’t think the marinade enhanced the flavour of the pork, so the salt, pepper and olive oil used by Chef is really all you need to add to the pork before cooking quickly on a hot grill. As this is quick to cook on a heated grill, watch that you don’t overcook it as it will dry out. You can see below how the frenched cutlet looks that more special on the plate compared to the two I made at home. Learning in every class!
Venison is usually served with something sweet, in class we served it with pickled carrots and radish. Venison is incredibly lean and the cut we used is from the tenderloin, the most tender cut. You have to watch that it doesn’t go ‘over’ when you cook it as it will become tough. As mentioned already, I didn’t manage to practice cooking this at home, instead I made a lamb loin which was equally delicious. Chef told us to wash the herb crust off the venison after it had been sous vide medium rare (53c for 30 mins), and prior to pan frying to medium rare (55C) & placing in oven. My inner voice was crying, but I like the herb crust!!! Being pushed for time I wasn’t able to rest the venison sufficiently before plating which doesn’t make for the most attractive plate 😳, you can see a little bit of tell-tale blood under the meat!
The last dish was the Pork Boudin in crepinette with Rocket Salad. I have used caul fat (crepinette) before, but the supplier I used has since closed down – so across the city we travelled. Caul fat is a fat ‘netting’ like lace; a membrane which surrounds the internal organs and makes a perfect casing for sausages. It needs to be soaked in water to remove any colour and improve the smell and then squeezed out to dry. The important fact to remember when making pork sausages is to ensure the temperature of the cooked sausage is 65c. I like the way this dish was presented with the disks of cooked caramelised apple encapsulating the dressed rocket salad and a a final flourish of grated walnuts.
It was another busy class, but very enjoyable. Next week we move to Veal and ‘specialty meats’ which includes offal (liver and kidney) which is never my choice of meat. I will approach the class with an open mind, you never know, I may find out I like it after all. One last thing before I finish, I got a placement in a commercial kitchen!!! The Chef trained in Europe, and worked in a Dutch Michelin Star restaurant before emigrating to Australia… he is lovely and very supportive of chefs to be. He manages a small team in a large commercial kitchen, predominately doing functions, both large and small. He has already put me on the roster for several functions over the next few weekends, including a wedding. I am a very happy Chef in training!
A lovely rustic Tuscan salad of olives, tomato, onion, capsicum, capers & bread. Think Summer on a plate! A perfect accompaniment to grilled meat, chicken or fish.
- .5 Red Capsicum
- .5 Yellow Capsicum
- 1 Tomato (skin and seeds removed)
- .5 Red Onion
- 1 Small red chilli (or to taste)
- 20 gm Pitted black olives (preferably Kalamata)
- 5 – 10 gm Anchovy Fillets
- 5 gm Salted Capers, rinsed
- Fresh Basil leaves
- 50 gm Bread, preferably Italian Ciabatta
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 clove Garlic, crushed
- 10 ml Vinegar, white wine
- 30 ml Olive Oil
- 3 g Salt, sea
- 3 g Pepper
Cut the tomato & vegetables to the desired size – for uniformity let the size of the olive direct the size of the dice.
Add the crushed garlic to the 2 tbsp of olive oil and brush the bread before cutting into desired size and toasting in oven. Remember, the bread soaks up the dressing.
Cut the chilli and anchovy quite small. You can exclude the anchovy, but you really won’t taste it in the finished dish, it just adds a depth of flavour which balances well with the other ingredients.
Prepare the dressing, Olive oil, White wine vinegar and seasoning, and tear the basil leaves.
Combine the salad ingredients and the dressing just before serving.