Michel Bras-Inspired Salad

Adapted by StarChefs.com
October 2015
Yield: 4 servings


Kale Oil
1 liter grapeseed oil
4 pounds kale, stems removed
Watercress Purée
500 grams Watercress leaves
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
10 grams kombu
Brined Zucchini Ribbons
1 kilogram zucchinis
1 liter water at 3% salt by weight
10 grams kombu
Preserved Lemons
141 grams whole lemons
108 grams kosher salt
120-240 grams fresh lemon juice
Merguez Broth
4 gallons poultry stock, reduced by one-quarter
5 pounds merguez sausage , seared and rendered
xanthan gum
Burnt Lemon Purée
3 lemons, halved lengthwise
1 liter simple syrup
10 grams agar agar
Date Purée
6 Medjool dates, pitted
xanthan gum
Tomato Gelée
2 cups clear tomato water
½ cup bonito flakes
1 tablespoon chermoula powder
1½ sheets gelatin, bloomed
kosher salt
8 pasilla chiles
4 dried New Mexico chiles
4 dried chipotle chiles
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus teaspoon cumin, ground
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, grated on microplane
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Vadouvan Quinoa
kosher salt
2 cups quinoa
3 quarts rice bran oil
½ cup white sesame seeds, toasted
½ cup black sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
Roasted Carrots
8 baby heirloom carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1½ ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 Meyer lemon, zested
1½ tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground urfa chile
Braised Radishes
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
12 French breakfast radishes
Walnut Crumble
1 cup walnuts
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
kosher salt
1 teaspoon berbere spice
To Assemble and Serve
grapeseed oil
1 lemon cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces, skin charred with a torch
4 cauliflower florets, blanched in salted water
4 Romanesco florets, blanched in salted water
1 kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise (8 slices)
4 baby turnips, blanched in salted water
fleur de sel
Chickpea purée
1 avocado, scooped with a melon baller, eight balls charred with a torch
16 red grapes, charred with a torch
8 pickled baby chanterelles
8 pickled ramp bulbs
8 husk cherries, halved
4 cubes pickled watermelon rind
8 thin slices pickled watermelon rind
12 cubes compressed watermelon
2 tablespoons basil seeds, bloomed in water
Whipped salted crème fraîche
1 red jalapeno pepper , seeds removed, thinly sliced
Fresh Origins micro greens


For the Kale Oil

Prepare an ice water bath. In a blender with the oil, slowly increase speed until vortex forms. Slowly add kale leaves. Blend 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl set over ice bath. When completely chilled, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Pass through a cheesecloth-lined chinois into a clear container. Let mixture sit undisturbed for a few hours, until kale settles; decant.

For the Watercress Purée

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an iced water bath. Blanch watercress in boiling water until bright green and tender. Transfer to water bath and chill completely. Blend blanched greens in a Vitamix, adding water to achieve desired consistency. With the machine still running, add xanthan gum. Season with salt to taste. Pass purée through a chinois. Chill over iced water bath and set aside.

For the Brined Zucchini Ribbons

Place kombu in salt water and steep for 30 minutes. Bring a pot with water to a boil and prepare an iced water bath. Quarter zucchini in quarters lengthwise and remove seeds. Using a mandolin, slice into thin ribbons. Blanch zucchini strips in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer to the iced water bath. When completely cool, transfer ribbons to kombu brine. Leave for at least 24 hours before removing.

For the Preserved Lemons

Thoroughly clean whole lemons. Dry completely. Pour salt into a large bowl. On a cutting board, stand lemon stem side down. Using a sharp knife, cut down the middle stopping inch above the stem. Make a perpendicular cut, again stopping short of the stem. Lemon should be quartered but still intact. Repeat with remaining lemons. Stuff quartered lemons with as much salt as possible. Place stuffed lemons, cut side up, in a large jar. Screw on lid and leave overnight. The next day, pour lemon juice into the jar until contents are completely submerged. Close jar and keep in a dark spot. Shake the jar once a day for one week, adding more lemon juice if needed. Then let sit in the dark for 1 month.

For the Merguez Broth

In a pot over medium heat, combine stock and sausage, and reduce by one-third. Prepare an ice water bath. Pass mixture through a chinois into a separate pot set over ice bath. Remove fat that solidifies on surface. Over low heat, bring to a simmer. Scale broth and record weight. Measure 1 percent of that weight in xanthan gum. Transfer broth to a blender and slowly increase speed until vortex forms. Add xanthan; blend 3 minutes. Strain mixture through a chinois and season with salt. Vacuum seal broth several times until air bubbles are eliminated and broth is clear.

For the Burnt Lemon Purée

Prepare an ice bath. In a cast iron pan over high heat, char lemons pulp side down until completely blackened. Transfer to a container with simple syrup and steep for at least an hour. Transfer to blender, purée, and pass through chinois into a pot over medium heat. Add agar agar and bring to a boil. After 30 seconds, transfer mixture to a bowl set over an ice bath. When chilled and firmly set, cut into cubes, and purée. Pass though a chinois and into a squeeze bottle.

For the Date Purée

Weigh dates and measure 0.05% of measured weight with xanthan gum. Lay dates on a rack, flesh side up and char with a torch. Transfer to a small saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until dates are tender. Drain, reserving liquid. Blend dates with a Vitamix on low, adding reserved liquid to reach desired consistency. With machine still running, add xanthan gum. Transfer purée to a bowl and set over iced water bath. Store in a small squeeze bottle.

For the Tomato Gelée

In a small pot over low heat, bring tomato water to a simmer, skimming solids that surface. Add bonito flakes and chermoula, remove from heat, and cover. After 1 hour, strain into a separate pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in gelatin. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined chinois into a container. Let cool completely, until solidified. Break with a fork before serving.

For the Harissa

To a bowl, add all chiles and cover with boiling water. Place a small plate on top to keep chiles submerged, and cover with plastic wrap. Soak chiles 1 hour, until completely softened. Drain chiles, reserving liquid. Let sediment settle, then measure cup of the liquid. Wearing rubber gloves, pull stems off chiles and break open, remove seeds and ribs. In a food processor, purée chiles, adding liquid as needed. Add olive oil and blend until smooth. Add black pepper, salt, cumin, cayenne, and garlic. Blend to a smooth paste. Add vinegar and blend for 30 seconds. Harissa should have the consistency of a loose mayonnaise. Add additional chile liquid if too thick. Pass through a chinois into a bowl and stir in parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice. Season with salt.

For the Vadouvan Quinoa

In a large pot of boiling water, cook quinoa until tender; drain. Onto a paper towel-lined sheet tray lined, spread quinoa and let cool. In a separate pot, heat oil to 350F. Fry quinoa until crisp, drain on paper towels, and let cool. Transfer to a bowl with sesame seeds and curry powder. Mix well, seasoning with salt, and store in an airtight container.

For the Roasted Carrots

Heat oven to 350F. On a sheet tray, toss carrots in oil and season generously with salt and cumin. Roast until tender; keep warm. In a pan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar, maple syrup, and lemon juice, stirring constantly until emulsified. Stir in urfa and set aside keeping warm.

For the Braised Radishes

In a small pot, bring stock and vinegar to a simmer. Stir in sugar. Add radishes and cook until almost tender. Remove and reserve radishes. Return liquid to a simmer and reduce to a glaze. Return radishes to pot and glaze thoroughly.

For the Walnut Crumble

Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and stir until melted. Add walnuts and mix over medium heat until walnuts are fully coated. Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and toast in oven until golden brown. Let cool completely. Using a food processor, pulse nuts into small pieces. Season with salt and berbere spice.

To Assemble and Serve

To a pan over low heat, add a few drops grapeseed oil, followed by cucumber, cauliflower, Romanesco, kohlrabi, squash, and turnips. Sauté until barely warm. Add 2 tablespoons Merguez Broth, stirring constantly until pan is almost dry. Drain on a paper towel-lined sizzle platter. Season with fleur de sel; keep warm. Using a demitasse spoon, place a dollop of chickpea purée on a large white serving plate with a dimple and make swoosh. Repeat with the Watercress Purée. Around the dimple of the plate, arrange 3 pieces of cucumber from reserved sautéed vegetables, 2 avocado balls, 4 grapes, 2 chanterelles, 2 ramp bulbs, 1 cauliflower floret, 1 Romanesco floret, 4 cherry halves, 1 kohlrabi slice, 1 cube pickled watermelon rind, 2 squash slices, 3 ribbons Brined Zucchini, 2 slices pickled watermelon rind, 3 cubes compressed watermelon, 1 baby turnip, 2 Roasted Carrots, and 4 Braised Radishes. Place 2 tablespoons Tomato Gelée in the dimple of the plate and drizzle with Kale Oil. Arrange 2 teaspoons of Walnut Crumble and 2 teaspoons Vadouvan Quinoa around vegetables. Add 2 teaspoons basil seeds, and a few dots each of Date Purée, crème fraîche, Burnt Lemon Purée, and Harissa. Cut Preserved Lemon into 4 slices and place on top of arranged vegetables. Garnish with the jalapeo and assorted micro greens.