Usually a chef opens a restaurant, that restaurant is successful and acquires at least some notoriety and then the chef writes a cookbook based on the recipes he cooked and served there. Gerald Hirigoyen did it backwards. His book "The Basque Kitchen," on which I based this meal, was published in 1999, when Hirigoyen was busy with his pan-French restaurant Fringale and its Provenzal restaurant Pastis, and he was still dreaming of opening a Basque restaurant one day. That day finally came in 2002, when Hirigoyen opened Piperade, to glowing reviews and great success, basing his menu on the recipes he had previously published in "The Basque Kitchen".
"The Basque Kitchen" is an easy cookbook to use. Hirigoyen has a friendly, chatty yet concise tone, and his love for the food of his native country is very apparent. The book is very personal, his descriptions of the dishes are as full of memories as they are of background information.
I decided to plan a meal out of the Basque Kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner 2002. We had had a full turkey meal in the house of a friend the week before and we knew that our guests were coming from a traditional Thanksgiving luncheon, so I didn't want to cook turkey and all that stuff. We had a lot to give thanks for that year - in particular the birth of our daughter Michaela - and I figured a more elegant, and yet poultry-based meal, might be a good way to mark the occasion.
Mike helped me set the menu (OK, he chose all the dishes):
- Sauteed Foie Gras with Grapes and Verjus
An expensive but incredibly delicious dish
- Poulet Basquaise
Basque Chicken is a classic
- Chocolate Rocks
We accompanied the meal with some Rioja wine.
The Basque Kitchen
tempting food from the Pyrenees
by Gerald Hirigoyen and Cameron Hirigoyen
New York, 1999