In this series, columnist Sibylle Eschapasse interviews some of France’s top chefs, the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France.
Years of Experience with French Cuisine:
Maitre Cuisinier de France since:
Sibylle Eschapasse: What does it mean to you to be a Maître Cuisinier de France, a most admired title?
Luc Holié: It means to me that you should always believe and never give up.
Ms. Eschapasse: Why did you choose to become a chef?
Mr. Holié: Since I was young, I always liked cooking with my grandmother and mother.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your cooking, what would they say?
Mr. Holié: Ask my friends: Always something good!
Ms. Eschapasse: If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Mr. Holié: Something related to sports.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who would you consider to be your greatest culinary influence?
Mr. Holié: Jean-Claude Fabre, the Maître Cuisinier de France with whom I worked for 12 years until I came to New York.
Ms. Eschapasse: How would you define French cuisine?
Mr. Holié: French cuisine is classic, sophisticated, and endless.
Ms. Eschapasse: Of France’s many regional cuisines, which do you prefer to cook and why?
Mr. Holié: Mediterranean, because we use only local fish and vegetables, and olive oil, of course.
Ms. Eschapasse: What’s your advice to people who would like to improve their cooking skills or learn to cook?
Mr. Holié: Follow your feelings. Do it with love and passion.
You can watch Holié demonstrate the full recipe on “Celebrity Taste Makers” on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. on Pix11.
Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and lives in New York City. In addition to working at the United Nations, she contributes to various publications and is the host of “Sibylle’s Top French Chefs,” a series being aired on “Celebrity Taste Makers.” She may be reached at email@example.com
Roasted Squab Breast
- 6 squabs
For the Stuffing:
- 6 ounces foie gras
- 2 ounces shallots
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup port, divided
- 8 ounces caul fat
For the Sauce:
- 2 cups brown chicken stock
For the French Toast:
- 8 ounces brioche
- 1 ounce roasted hazelnuts
- 1 ounce walnuts
- 1 ounce dried prune
- 1 ounce dried apricots
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 ounces cream
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Fava Beans:
- 2 pounds fava beans
- 3 ounces butter, divided
To Prepare the Squab:
Clean the squab. Remove the legs from the body, keeping the breasts on the bone. Save the liver.
To Make the Leg Stuffing:
Pan-sear the foie gras in a pan. Set it aside, turn the heat to medium high, and cook the shallots in the fat. Add the apple slices, mushrooms, and squab liver, and cook for 4 minutes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup port, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
In a food processor, blend the apple-mushroom stuffing with the foie gras.
Place the squab legs on a tray. Spread the same amount of stuffing on each leg, and wrap each one individually with caul fat.
To Make the French Toast:
Dice the brioche, roasted hazelnuts, walnuts, prunes, and apricots into small pieces. Combine all these ingredients with the milk, cream, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oven to 360 F.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place six 3-inch molds in the pan. Divide 1 ounce of the butter among the molds and ladle the brioche mixture into the molds.
Brown on both sides, then finish in the oven for 3 minutes.
For the Fava Beans Purée:
Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Ice them and remove the skins. Set a few aside for plating and blanch the rest once more for 3 minutes.
Blend them in a food processor with remaining butter and reserve hot.
For the Squab and Glaze:
Heat the oven to 300 F. Roast the squab breasts and legs separately in two non-stick pans in the oven for 12 minutes. Let the breasts “rest” for 5 minutes before removing the bone.
Heat the oven to 370 F. In an oven-safe pot, roast the bones in the oven until brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the fat, then add the remaining port wine and the brown chicken stock. Reduce to glaze consistency, strain, and set aside.
Put the French toast in the center of each plate.
Form the fava bean purée into 12 quenelles and place two on each plate.
Place the squab breasts on top of the toast and the squab legs on the side.
Sauté the reserved fava beans and arrange them around the plate. Pour the glaze over dish.
Recipe by chef Luc Holié