The last few weeks of work have been some of the most exciting and unpredictable I’ve ever had. I started working four days a week at the restaurant, which has been a roller coaster of an adjustment. When I was going in one day a week, I would spend the afternoon on whatever prep tasks were most pressing and then would work with another cook on the line during service. My days last week had a similar structure, but with more emphasis on actually learning the process of running the station from afternoon prep through service and clean-up.
This week, I switched to the a.m.-prep shift, which is technically mostly in the afternoon. I work from 8 a.m. to around 6 p.m. cooking sauces, frying garlic, cleaning carrots, and doing a bunch of other things that need to be done before the doors open for dinner. The prep shift has a much different feel, without the unpredictable, adrenaline-fueled rush of service, but it will allow me to be exposed to more new things in an atmosphere that’s more conducive to learning. It’s been incredible and my head is still spinning trying to make sense of everything I’m experiencing.
As if all of that weren’t thrilling enough, the restaurant got HUGE news on Tuesday. I really have no good way to drop this in casually, which is why I’ve been stalling and talking about myself for the last two paragraphs. Bon Appetit named Rose’s Luxury (a.k.a. “the restaurant”) the best new restaurant in America. We were all ecstatic but struggling to comprehend what that meant after the announcement on Tuesday. Since I’ve never worked at another restaurant, I probably have the least perspective. I already knew Rose’s was an incredible place — everything written about Aaron’s focus on making guests and employees happy is absolutely true — but this will certainly add a new level of intensity and focus to everything we do. I couldn’t be happier to be along for the ride.
I have a million more thoughts and feelings, but I think that’s enough for today. Now, a salad.
Sweet, summer tomatoes and indecently rich burrata are absolutely the stars here, but they have a strong supporting cast. Basil would have been my go-to herb for a salad like this not so long ago, but I’ve realized that mint is just as versatile and adds a fresh, less-expected flavor. Thinly sliced red onion adds crunch and a tiny bit of heat. Pine nuts add an addictive depth of flavor, like they do in pesto. The best bites are the ones with a little of everything.
I didn’t realize that I’d been giving all my stone fruit love to peaches and nectarines this year. I can’t seem to avoid walking out of every grocery store or market I visit with a bag of them. But no plums. I’ve been unintentionally neglecting them. I’ve been passing on cartons of the big, dark purple ones for weeks. Luckily, I saw a basket of these little red beauties and immediately decided they were coming home with me.
Since baked fruit and buttery pastry are two of my favorite dessert things – and I didn’t have quite enough fruit to fill a pie – a galette was the answer. It seems like whenever I see a galette recipe, it includes a comment about how galettes are the perfect pie alternative for summer. They are, allegedly, simpler and easier and less fussy. I’ve never found this argument to be particularly compelling – you’re still dealing with pie dough – but it is nice to roll out one big round of dough instead of two.
As far as I’m concerned, the one drawback of galettes is that some recipes instruct you to fold over only a narrow border of crust, leaving you with a low crust-to-fruit ratio. Anything less than a two-inch border is insufficient. Bigger border=more flaky crust.
A bit of buckwheat flour gives the crust a nutty flavor, which I love, and a slightly-heartier-but-still-dessert-appropriate texture. Sprinkling a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and flour on the crust before arranging the fruit serves as a barrier to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy and creates a delicious, frangipane-like filling to complement the fruit. Any stone fruit would be a perfect substitute for the plums in this recipe, whether it’s your favorite, one you’ve been neglecting, or whatever happens to be on your counter.