The Chef in the Hat

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The Chef In The Hat is Thierry Rautureau, the talented force behind Loulay Kitchen & Bar and Luc restaurants, bringing a French twist to the best of Pacific Northwest cuisine.

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Chef Thierry's Favorite Washington Wines

Last week, I was having dinner with friends who love wine, visiting from France and I wanted to show off our talented winemakers here in Washington in celebration of #WaWineMonth. I went down to my cellar and we opened up a few of my favorites which I think would show well right now. Needless to say they were extremely impressed and went back to France with high praises about our wine regions. 

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Chef Thierry at Chicago Gourmet on 9/25: Wild Mushroom Salad with Potato Galette

Wild Mushroom Salad with Potato Galette, Roasted Shallots, and Pecans Season: Fall

4 whole shallots plus 2 teaspoons minced shallot

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons thyme leaves plus 1/4 teaspoon minced thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 ounces each)

3 tablespoons clarified unsalted butter

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed

8 to 10 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle, hedgehog, lobster, honey and/or cauliflower mushrooms), cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced

Pinch minced garlic

1/4 cup cherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced chives

1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Trim the root ends from the whole shallots. Set the shallots in the center of a large piece of foil, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the package up securely and roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Set the packet aside to cool.

While the shallots are roasting, peel the potatoes and cut them in 1/16-inch slices with a mandoline or a knife. Put 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a large bowl and add the remaining 1 teaspoons of the thyme leaves with a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the potato slices and toss well with your hands, separating the potato slices so that they are each evenly coated in butter and seasonings.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon clarified butter in a medium ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat just until warm. Take the skillet from the heat and arrange the potato slices overlapping in the skillet, starting with the larger slices around the outside edge, working toward the center with the smaller slices, making 1 even layer. Cook the potatoes until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off excess fat from the skillet into a small dish. Flip the potato cake onto a plate or an unrimmed baking sheet, then carefully slide it back into the skillet to cook until the bottom is browned and the potato is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Set aside in the skillet.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is melted to medium brown and slightly nutty smelling. Cook each mushroom type individually, each with a pinch of salt and pepper, then transfer them to a large bowl, adding more butter to the skillet as needed. Firmer mushrooms may take 5 to 7 minutes, more tender mushrooms just 2 or 3 minutes. When all the mushrooms have been cooked, return them to the skillet and add the minced shallot, minced thyme, and garlic, and continue cooking until well blended and aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, reserving the skillet.

Add the vinegar to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, then take the pan from the heat and strain the dressing over the wild mushrooms. Add the chives and toss to evenly mix. Peel away and discard the skin from the roasted shallots, then cut them into quarters.

To serve, cut the potato galette into 4 wedges and set them in the center of warmed plates. Scatter the roasted shallot pieces and toasted pecans around the galette. Spoon the mushrooms onto the potato, flattening to an even layer, leaving excess vinaigrette behind in the bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette around the salad and serve right away.

Makes 4 servings

Thierry Rautureau

The Chef In The Hat™

Rover’s Cookbook © 2005

Late Night Happy Hour at LUC

LUC’s late night happy hour begins Sunday, September 12. Sunday—Thursday stop by LUC between 9:30pm—midnight for late night small-plate snacks, house wine from Wilridge Winery and our bartender's specialty cocktail.

Sunday—Thursday 9:30pm—Midnight

$4 Menu items include: Oysters, Potato Crisps (Pommes Soufflé), Beef Skewers, Lamb Sausage, Smoked Salmon Tartine, White Bean Stew, Arugula Salad and Roasted Nuts.

$4 Liquids include: House Red by Wilridge Winery (5oz), House White by Wilridge Winery (5oz), All Draft Beers, Bartender's Special

$1 Rainier Beer  

Stop by late for some late night happy!

Seattle Times Review. 3 Stars! Luc: Hat's off to Rautureau's bistro

By Providence Cicero Special to The Seattle Times

Luc 3 stars

French
 2800 E. Madison St., Seattle
206-328-6645

Reservations: Recommended.

Hours: Dinner 4 p.m.-midnight daily.

Prices: $$$ (appetizers $6.50-$9.25; entrees $11.50-$20)

Drinks: Full bar; imported and local beers; wines by the glass, carafe or bottle.

Parking: On street.

Sound: Loud.

Who should go: Everyday gourmets.

Credit cards: All major.

Access: No obstacles.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, two pretty much sum up the raison d'être of Luc, the unbuttoned Gallic flip side to Thierry Rautureau's fussier French Rover's.

The paintings are by Isa D'Arleans. One hangs in Luc's dining room and shows a stolid Loire Valley farmer and his wife, Rautureau's parents. Monsieur is the restaurant's namesake; madame, the woman who first mentored the farm-raised French chef in the kitchen.

In the other, hanging appropriately in the bar, a wide-eyed young Thierry looks caught unawares. Seeing that startled face above an ebullient crowd, one imagines a thought bubble: "Zut alors! How did all these people get in my room?"

This bustling, easygoing kitchen and bar is very much his room. Hard to miss in his wide-brimmed fedora among the tanned and well-tailored Madison Valley throng, the James Beard award-winning chef enjoys making the rounds. Like his quasi-namesake the Cat in the Hat, the Chef in the Hat is a natural impresario as well as a charming, irrepressible scamp.

Cheek-kissing two women searching in vain for seats at the bar, he asks, "Have you tried the Lucatini? I have one every day."

I wouldn't mind a daily dose myself of this St. Germain-smoothed Vesper variation served with a spiraling orange zest. And with it, a nest of soufflé potatoes — plump, airy potato crisps that deliciously mimic fried dough.

When he's not out front or across the courtyard at Rover's, Rautureau pops up in Luc's open kitchen, where chef de cuisine Seamus MacKenzie oversees the preparation of French classics like boeuf bourguignon and trout amandine, as well as burgers, pork chops, sausages and steaks. There's a pasta du jour, and even pizza.

It's a menu shrewdly designed to entice people back once, perhaps twice a week. Every day there's a featured specialty to be shared among three or four — a whole roast chicken or duck, braised beef tongue, Dungeness crab or roasted leg of lamb.

One Sunday night from the shelter of a dining-room booth with benches like church pews, I watched enviously as two people at the next table devoured that night's shareable feast: thick slices of roasted pork shoulder, a lofty potato gratin and sautéed greens.

Meanwhile, I sat picking with knife and fork at the sandwich du jour: pork belly and caramelized onions on a soaked and swiftly disintegrating bun spread with too little apricot jam to counter the punch of harissa-spiked aioli.

The sandwich was unremarkable, but so much else was unforgettable: boeuf bourguignon, for example, admirably yielding in an earthy, wine-dark sauce of bewitching intensity; and peppery grilled onglet (hanger steak), an appropriately virile partner for a posse of supermodel fries — skinny, hot and salty.

Terrific Moroccan-spiced lamb sausage, nearly a foot long, is propped on a pair of crostini cushioned with braised cabbage: one red and sweet hinting of caraway; the other green and mustard-sharp.

Trout amandine nearly afloat in brown butter (and wanting, I thought, just a bit more lemon) came beautifully butterflied under a mosaic of toasted almond slivers. A phenomenal pasta du jour paired shards of rare salmon and crisp pickled green beans with linguine in a tarragon-fragrant fish fumé.

Pickled mackerel teamed with mustardy potato salad made an invigorating summer starter that was far more appealing than the cool but bitter zucchini soup. Arugula tossed with tiny roasted beets in bing- cherry vinaigrette neatly captured the season's softer, sweeter side.

I wanted to take a spoon to the pot of chicken liver mousse with rhubarb gelee scattered like tart, twinkling rubies on top. Instead I spread it on oiled crostini, then on chunks of fresh, crusty bread. I did much the same with a trio of lovely cheeses also accented with rhubarb, this time melted into a ginger-spiked compote.

With either of these you might do as the French do and drink the local wine. A half-carafe of a soft, slightly oaky, red blend from Madrona's Wilridge Winery is just $10. It ought to go well with that pork shoulder, which I plan to try, some Sunday, very soon.