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Learn how to cook a romantic dinner in this video from Chef Patrick O'Connell from The Inn at Little Washington.
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Hello! I am Patrick O'Connell and we are The Inn at Little Washington, in Washington, Virginia, 67 miles west of Washington D.C.
We are making today a wonderful little romantic three-course dinner that you can replicate easily at home. It's perfect for a holiday, like Valentine's Day. It starts with roasted Beet Carpaccio with a little citrus vinaigrette garnished with caviar and crème fraiche as well as a Vodka Ice Pick. Then the main course, a tuna pretending to be a fillet mignon of beef. So it's the loin of tuna stamped into a perfect circle so that it looks exactly like a little fillet mignon and it's seared and placed on a little nest of charred onions rendered very sweet by being blackened in a hot skillet and ribbons of zucchini and carrot. It's sauced with a rich burgundy wine sauce, and the dish is finished and kept with a seared duck foie gras, the most elegant, luscious, simple, kind of a food item that there is, fattened duck liver.
Then we’re finishing with the dessert called Coeur a la Creme, literally meaning heart of the cream. We'll go over all the ingredients as we go along so that you can follow the dish, know what you’re aiming for and easily replicate it at home. Remember that when you are heating your cast iron skillet, the rigged one that we were cooking the tuna in to a white hot, that's going to produce a little smoke .
Here in our kitchen, we've got a very strong extractor and ventilation system that you don't have at home. So you might want to put a window fan in while you are doing this dish because if you don't have you pan white hot, your tuna is going to stew and you want to crust the exterior and be able to get those wonderful grill marks. Also with the beets, we're demonstrating how to use a madalin. We are using an Asian style or Vietnamese madalin. There's also a French madalin made of heavy stainless steel. Either one has a very sharp blade. So you want to be very careful when you are slicing anything, but particularly a beet that's quite soft after it's roasted. Don't get your fingers too close to the sharp edge of the madalin.
Inn at Little Washington opened in 1978 in an abandoned garage that a partner and I rented for $200 a month. This is the old gas station. We're still in it, but it doesn't resemble itself, thank God! This area had been the town dump. A mountain of tin cans leaned against the rear of the building and we had an outhouse. Dinner was $4.95. We were discovered in the second week we opened by a critic from Washington D.C. who claimed that it was the best restaurant in the radius of 150 miles. There was an avalanche of people, lines at the door. And for the first 10 years, I really didn't look up. I just chopped as fast as I could. So I like to feel that I've the soul of a home cook. Just maybe more guests are coming more often than you might at home.
So let's get started in making our little three course romantic dinner beginning with the Beet Carpaccio.