Scott Anderson and Mike Ryan

Edible Jersey Holiday 2015


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edible jersey _ Holiday 2015-1Despite all the critical acclaim that has been directed his way,chef Scott Anderson is disarmingly deferential. When I sat down to interview him at elements in Princeton, where he is executive chef and co-owner, he quickly asked if Mike Ryan, his culinary collaborator and chef de cuisine, could join us, noting, “We collaborate on just about everything that we do.” Together they describedtheir shared history around patranque—a traditional rusticdish from the Auvergne region of France—and the innovative waythat Ryan used it in a dish he created for a recent tasting menu.

Patranque is a cheese-and-bread stuffi ng that makes good use of dayoldcountry bread. It’s a long-time favorite at elements; Anderson and Ryan have used patranque in many different forms over the years. Theyrecommend pairing it with roasted chicken and meats—provided youcan avoid the temptation of eating it right out of the pan.

“The texture is very soft and cheesy,” Ryan says. “It’s rich and delicious.”When asked where he fi nds creative inspiration, Anderson doesn’tmention memories of trips to France (turns out he has never beenthere) or his deep commitment to culinary tradition (he’s comfortablepulling culinary inspiration from all over the world). “It’s notas straightforward as people think,” Anderson says. “A lot of timesthe ideas come from left fi eld. They start backwards. Sometimes they start with a piece of squash and end up with fluke.”Success with this serendipitous approach is possible because ofAnderson’s intense focus on the quality of ingredients. At elements,ingredients aren’t just purchased from local farms—he and his team are actively engaged with their farmers to ensure that varietal and breed selection and farming philosophy produce superior fl avor. The chefs at elements are flexible enough to respond to what arrives fresh from the farm—and are free to take those ingredients across culinary cultural divides.

Case in point is Ryan’s dish, Pumpernickel Patranque with Sea Urchin, Rye and Egg Yolk—a playful Italian-French-Vietnamese reinterpretation of crostini with sea urchin and lardo.

With an abundance of Vietnamese coriander and assorted basils and mints that he picked on his daily visit to Z Food Farm in Lawrenceville,Ryan began playing around in search of new ways to use these intensely aromatic herbs, which are often combined as a garnish for pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup. That exploration landed the herbs a starring role as the seasonal finish for his Pumpernickel Patranque.

In place of lardo, Ryan tops plump, briny sea urchins with anotherclassic Vietnamese ingredient —warmed, thinly sliced beef tendon.

Beef jus and rye berries add texture and richness to the dish, which isfi nished with a smear of egg yolk and topped with the fresh herbs. Allof this sits on a foundation of patranque.

Anderson and Ryan were first introduced to patranque, and to eachother, while working at the Ryland Inn. Their version, which they say differs significantly from the Ryland’s, is a blend of classic ingredients with a few twists.

Using Cantal cheese, which is from the Auvergne region, is classic.

(Anderson says that Gruyère also works well.) Using pumpernickel,which deepens the fl avor, and rye berries, which, Ryan says, add “apop and crunch,” is not. It is also decidedly not traditional to incorporate patranque into an East-West cross-cultural dish.

Defying tradition, however, can yield a fl avorful reward. From his first taste, Anderson says, he knew that Ryan’s pairing of patranque with buttery, salty sea urchins; rich beef flavor; and vibrant local herbs “was an easy home run.”

Pumpernickel Patranque | Serves 4

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2¼ cups diced pumpernickel bread, dried

2 cups milk

7 tablespoons butter

Half a medium-sized onion, cut into small dice

2 medium-sized cloves garlic, sliced thin

1¼ teaspoon fresh thyme

¾ cup cooked rye berries

4 ounces Cantal cheese or a good melting cheese

7 tablespoons vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak diced bread in the milk for 1 hour or until soft.

In a sauté pan, melt butter, then add onion, garlic and thyme. Cook onionsuntil soft. Add rye berries to the onion mixture.

Squeeze bread to break it apart. Note: You want the bread to be totallycrumbled. Add the bread and milk to the onion mixture and warm through.

Once the bread is warm, add the cheese and pull the pan off the heat. Allow the cheese to melt, while stirring the mixture. Once cheese has fully melted, add the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the dish with your favorite meat, such as chicken or beef. “A lot of times the ideas come from left field. They start backwards. Sometimes they start with a piece of squash and end up with fluke.”

—Scott Anderson

Forget About the Turkey – Thanksgiving is All About the Wine


November 23, 2015

By Sarah Emily Gilbert


Forget About the Turkey – Thanksgiving is All About the Wine

Don’t know which wine to select for Thanksgiving dinner? Our local experts share their go-to pairings so there’s nothing to “wine” about come turkey day.

Carl Rohrbach, DWS – Director of Wine Services, Elements

For Thanksgiving this year, I will be enjoying Jean Dutraive (Grand’Cour) 2014 Fleurie, “Le Clos,” Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, a 100% Gamay wine from Beaujolais in France.

The wine is bright, fresh, delicious, and perhaps, the perfect wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. Beaujolais has a negative image in many wine consumers minds and that’s a crying shame. This wine has beautiful bright red fruits (think cranberries), flowers, subtle spice and gorgeous earthy flavors to go along with low tannins, alcohol, and a mouthwatering acidity. The structure and complexity of this old vine Fleurie is unmatched even by some red Burgundy producers.

This is a wine that won’t overpower your Thanksgiving meal, but rather take a back seat to the flavors on the table, while at the same time providing refreshment that most reds will lack.

Article also appears in Urban Agenda Magazine: http://www.urbanagendamagazine.com/thanksgiving-wine-pairings/

Elements Princeton Reviewed by DC Dining

Originally posted here: http://reviews.dcdining.com/2015/12/07/elements-princeton-nj/

· On Rockwell’s decision to dine at elements: “I knew absolutely nothing about Elements before having arrived at the restaurant, and had no preconceived expectations. When I left the restaurant, I realized that I’d had my first Michelin 2-star-quality dining experience in (I’m embarrassed to say) a couple of years.

· On Rockwell’s interaction with hostess at Mistral: “At that precise moment, it was as if a Four-Star General had appeared in an officer’s dining hall: She immediately took on a different countenance – not in a way that downplays the importance of Mistral’s diners, but in a way that signaled to me that I had just been vaulted into VIP status – in a way that told me she instantly recognized that I had come to dine, and to dine well.

· On the differences between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ elements: My guess is that if you have not been to the “new” Elements, then you have not been to Elements. This restaurant is not a “James Beard Semifinalist”; assuming they don’t change things, this restaurant is a future regional winner, with probable future consideration for a national award.

· On Carl Rohrbach: ‘I turned myself over to the *very* capable sommelier, Carl Harrison Rohrbach, for a Tier 1 Wine Pairing ($65) which provided me with a different wine for nearly every course, and as different as these courses were, one from another, the pairings were of prime importance – even more importantly, the pairings were absolutely brilliant.

· On Chef Mike Ryan and service experience: ‘In order to create a more intimate link between kitchen and diner, each course was presented and explained by a different member of the kitchen staff (including the Executive Chef, Scott Anderson, and the outstanding Sous Chef, Mike Ryan, who created and served the amazing Kasuzuke Ocean Trout tableside – this Michelin 3-star dish, along with the Patranque, are two courses I’ll remember for the rest of my life.’