A lot of these recipes are based on things I’m learning in culinary school, i.e. classical French cooking. You will see hollandaise and hollandaise-based sauces in restaurants these days, but you would seldom see the veloute. It’s “old-fashioned”. But it is pretty delicious and one of the mother sauces for a reason.
The thing about classical french cooking is that it can still be economical. One of the students at my school just won a contest with a bacon-wrapped halibut with cherry puree and potato polenta recipe. It was delicious for sure, and very modern, but there’s no way I could price that one recipe out at $10, let alone a day including it.
Butter, flour, stock, oil, cream – all these ingredients are pretty affordable still.
Even taking a simple classic comfort food like macaroni and cheese, I need to stick to the more economical cheeses in order to fit it into the project. Emmenthaler, Gruyere, Stilton, Drunken Goat – these cheeses are all delicious, but very expensive. Most of them are pungent enough that you would only use a small amount for flavoring, but if that small amount costs a couple bucks, that certainly ratchets up the price of what could be an economical dish.
This project is all about striking a balance between affordable, fresh, healthy(ish), tasty, and feasible for everyday cooking. So there will be no Ahi Tuna Crusted in Almonds with Orange Flavored Foam but also there will be no “mac-n-cheese” out of a blue box made from reconstituted powder.
Speaking of which – nailed it:
You could make this for @$2.00 a serving if you skipped the tomatoes, but in my humble opinion, they make the dish. Especially if they’re cold. The contrasting temperatures, and the acidic tang of the tomato really complements the rich cheesiness of the sauce.
Bacon isn’t essential, but anywhere I can work in cured pig flesh is an opportunity I’m not going to pass up. Bacon is magic. Bacon is all purpose. Bacon is the little black dress of food.