Kitchen confidential: Brian Helleberg, Fleurie
The secret to great cooking is... Keep it simple. Do what you know how to do. 'Creativity' is overrated.
The secret to success in the restaurant business is... If you enjoy what you're doing, you're already successful.
The secret to making Fleurie's crab butternut squash is... timing. Adding the crab meat to the pan at just the right moment is essential. It's also a seasonal dish that's best done when the freshest ingredients are available.
Fleurie's gateau of squash and crab with truffle butter
2 lbs. butternut squash
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
pinch of nutmeg
small pinch cayenne pepper
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
1/4 cup chicken or fish stock
1 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. truffle oil
I picked this dish because it's simple, with three primary flavors. It's not really creative– it's my spin on a dish I did years ago at another restaurant. It's one of the most popular dishes at Fleurie.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place flesh side down in a roasting pan. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Scoop out the squash with a spoon and place in a food processor along with the egg yolk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Before serving, bake again for 3-4 minutes to let the egg yolk set.
The crab meat should be roasted in small batches. Heat a sauté pan on the stovetop to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of butter. When most of the butter has melted, begins to turn light brown, and starts to foam slightly, add 3 ounces of crab meat.
Make sure the crab meat is thoroughly coated in butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat and let the crab meat warm through for 1 minute. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place the crab on top of the squash.
To make the truffle sauce, bring the stock to a boil and add one stick of cold, cubed butter. Whisk in the butter until it is just melted and pull it off the heat. Stir in the chopped chives, truffle oil, and salt and pepper and pour over the gateau.