SEPTEMBER 4, 2012

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

ANDREW DEL VECCHIO, CHEF DE CUISINE, TALDE

When Andrew Del Vecchio was a kid, it was his dream to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, a small town 30 minutes from his hometown of Poughquag, New York. His dream came true.

In 2008, Del Vecchio graduated from the CIA, and now, four years later, the 24-year-old is chef de cuisine at Talde in Brooklyn. “Seven months ago, I was a line cook,” he says incredulously. “This is life in the fast lane.”

If Del Vecchio is overwhelmed by the pace, he doesn’t say so. And though he was raised on a diet of Italian-American food--much of it prepared by his grandmother--and worked for a brief spell at Andrew Carmellini’s restaurant Locanda Verde, he’s spent most of his cooking career exploring Asian ingredients and techniques. That path began at Buddakan, where he worked alongside Dale Talde; when Talde went on to open his eponymous Brooklyn restaurant, Del Vecchio joined him.

But for Sous Chef Series, Del Vecchio looked to neither Italy nor Southeast Asia but to France, cooking seafood en papillote, a light, elegant and simple technique that’s incredibly versatile and easy to master. He made fish his in a foil pouch on the grill, but we adapted it to a parchment pouch cooked in the oven.

TRACK THIS CHEF

Andrew Del Vecchio's:
See Recipe See the recipe for Andrew Del Vecchio's Halibut with Shellfish en Papillote

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Keep the Faith

 Del Vecchio’s main advice for cooking en papillote: Don’t get discouraged. “Because you’re steaming everything inside the parchment pouch, clean up is so easy.” Another benefit: “It’s such a simple technique, but it looks very fancy.”

Mix and Match

For this recipe, Del Vecchio combines halibut, mussels and shrimp, but he notes that the recipe is versatile and can be used with almost any mixture of seafood or even with chicken breast. Another trick: You can cook seafood en papillote both on the grill or in the oven; if cooking on the grill, form the pouch out of foil. If cooking in the oven, you can use one made of either foil or parchment paper.

MAKE THE
Halibut with Shellfish en Papillote

YIELD

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

Small shallot, 1 (finely chopped)

Garlic, 1 clove (finely chopped)

Fresh Thai chile or serrano pepper, 1 (finely chopped)

Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon

Fresh thyme sprigs, 7 (leaves removed from 3 sprigs and finely chopped; 4 sprigs left whole)

Dry white wine, 1 cup

Unsalted butter, 4 tablespoons

Cherry tomatoes, 10 (halved)

Halibut, one ¾-inch-thick 12-ounce fillet (skin removed and fish cut into 1-inch cubes)

Mussels, 10 (scrubbed and debearded)

Medium 21/25-count shrimp, 6 (peeled and deveined)

Baguette, 4 pieces sliced on a bias

EQUIPMENT

Measuring cups and spoons

Chef’s knife

Cutting board

Small saucepan

Wooden spoon

Whisk

Parchment paper or aluminum foil

Rimmed plate

Rimmed baking sheet

Bread knife

Grill pan

Pastry brush

Tongs

Large plate

Metal spatula

Bowls for serving

Scissors

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare the fish: Preheat the oven to 400°. In the small saucepan set over medium heat, add

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Thai chile
  • Salt

Cook, using the wooden spoon to stir the mixture often, until the shallot is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the

  • Chopped thyme leaves
  • White wine

Simmer until the wine is reduced by three-quarters, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the

  • Butter

Once melted, add the

  • Cherry tomatoes

Set the tomato-wine sauce aside.

2. Lay a 12-inch square piece of parchment paper over a rimmed plate. Fold the parchment to make a triangle and then unfold. Into the center of the paper, place

  • Half of the cubed halibut
  • 5 mussels
  • 3 shrimp

Pour half of the tomato-wine sauce over the seafood and top with

  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Fold the parchment over so the edges meet and crimp and fold to make a tight seal all the way around. Carefully place the pouch on the rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Repeat with another sheet of parchment paper and the remaining halibut, mussels, shrimp, tomato-wine sauce and thyme. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

3. Grill the baguette: Set a grill pan over medium-high heat. On a cutting board, brush the

  • Baguette slices

With the remaining

  • Olive oil

Place the oiled baguette slices oiled-side down on the grill pan and cook until grill-marked,  about 1½ to 2 minutes. Use the tongs to transfer to a large plate.

4. Use the metal spatula to hold the parchment pouch over a bowl, using the scissors to slice off the end of the packet. Carefully empty into the bowl. Repeat with the other parchment pouch, emptying it into a second bowl, and serve with the grilled bread.

Grill Variation: Heat a grill to high heat. In a 16 inch piece of aluminum foil placed in a bowl, add half of the halibut, half of the mussels, and half of the shrimp. Pour half of the wine/butter sauce over the fish and add a few extra sprigs of thyme. Wrap the foil up into a pouch and be sure it is tightly sealed on all sides. Place the foil pouches on the grill and cover the grill. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow to stand for 5 minutes before opening. While fish is resting, rub sliced baguette with olive oil and grill on one side until golden brown and slightly charred. Carefully open pouch and pour into a shallow bowl. Serve with grilled bread for dipping.

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