Thursday, 23 May 2013

Ep 9 Trou Normand: Tenderloin and Lotus


A tower of powerless

femurs, fibulas and spines.


Red blood on

White snow

Soiled like a bone china plate.

I’m flipping through the Production Draft of 109.  There are so many dead bodies in this episode. I need a couple of Will’s aspirins.

The images are macabre: a monstrous totem pole sculpted from the broken decaying bodies of ten victims. Erected as the culmination of a killing spree like a gruesome end-of–festival Burning Man.

Jack is getting colder and Will is getting crazier. I just want Beverly Katz to march into this script right now and solve the whole thing so I can relax and think about dinner.

So I plug “Hannibal’s Dining Room” into the script’s search function and go immediately to the food scene.

The meat of the matter is mid-way through the script. Hannibal is serving a red-blood meat dish to Will,  Abigail and that rascally Miss Lounds. But surprise! She is a vegetarian. (Miss Lounds, not Lara Jean Chorostecki who plays her.)
sketch for dinner scene with Freddie, Will and Hannibal 
That Freddie Lounds isn’t afraid of anything and though she may have dodged a bullet by ordering salad from Hannibal, I want her leafy greens to be even more menacing than the oozing meat on the Will and Hannibal’s plates.

For the salad, I’ll use white asparagus that will suggest finger bones when I cut the stalks into thumb and finger lengths. Lotus root slices will look like Munch "Scream" faces when juxtaposed with bird skulls. What could be more meatless than a clean-picked skull?
Skull salad for all - on bone china plates, of course
Sketch that up.

Get approvals.

Get bird skulls.

Hmmmm. A bit trickier than I thought – there are so many headless chickens in the shops, shouldn't there be an equal number of disembodied heads somewhere? I ask around and find a woman in a back street of Chinatown who will sell me a big bag of chicken heads. My work here is done, I think. But no, it’s only just beginning. While attempting to boil off the flesh, I realize it is not going to just fall off the bone. This is why every good food stylist needs an able assistant. Ettie, with her usual aplomb and great attitude, patiently cleans the eyeballs, skin and brains off the little craniums, while I reconstruct and bleached them into museum-quality specimens.
Roasted Tenderloin with Pomegranate blood spatter

Hannibal and Will have beef tenderloin. The morning of the shoot, I’ve roasted 8 filets. Of course, I worry that the roasts will be too well-done too look bloody. Or too rare for the actors to eat. On set, as I slice into each roast, I am relieved to find they are all medium-rare. Lucked out again. A little squirt of pomegranate reduction and the beef slices ooze with the “blood” that the director asked for.

Side dish of Anchovies writhing in the Capers
Sadly, madly, the on-set daily (a person who is hired on a film for the day, not for the duration of the series) had chucked the bird skulls into the garbage while cleaning the plates between resets. By the time I discover this, the little bones have been buried in the plate scrapings and we were left with only four – rotating them just adding to the challenge of keeping the reset plates flowing for the multiple takes.
Bones, bones, bones: phalanges salad with yellow and candycane beets on bone china. Now, where is that bird skull...

A confession.

I don’t have any recipes for you this week. That’s because I am working on this:

                                                                                                  Photo courtesy Brooke Palmer NBC

A shameless self-promo: 
The venerable Cookbook Store in Toronto's Yorkville is doing a pop-up dinner in their Studio Kitchen inspired by the food I've been creating for Hannibal. It’s going to be a great evening of food and fun.

Brilliant Matt Kantor is the chef for the evening. He’s done pop-ups for elBulli (a 24-course dazzler), Australian pop-ups and the amazing Rush tribute dinner – to name a few.

The menu will feature 7 or 8 tasting plates such as Brain Ravioli with Beurre Brun, Deep-fried Lamb Intestine on Panisse, Flambeed Spleen with Apples, Lamb Tongues en Papillote, Humano (veal) Tonato, Blood Sausage Cassoulet, Chocolate Blood Tarte.

If you’re in Toronto June 18, why not join us!

Wait – I do have a recipe!

For all of you who have been asking for the High Life Eggs recipe.

Thanks to wonderful Robyn Stern, Jose Andre's culinary researcher who sent these photos of the pages of Jose Andre's antique copy of Practicion, the 19th century culinary guide written by Angel Muro. Here is the recipe as it is in Spanish from the original text.  I’m experimenting with it next week using duck eggs and will post my findings. In English.

Huevos high-life recipe pg 1

Huevos recipe continued pg 2
from Jose Andres library

Next week: Jamon Iberico and Spanish tapas.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

ANNOUNCING: A Pop-up Dinner in Toronto's Yorkville

                                                                                                    Photo courtesy Brooke Palmer NBC

We are planning an exclusive pop-up dinner featuring Hannibal-inspired tasting plates. 
Brain Ravioli in Beurre Brun, Blood Sausage Cassoulet, Crispy deep-fried Sheep Intestines on Panisse, Humano (Veal) Tonato, Chocolate-Blood Tarte are just a few of the menu items we're considering. 

Chef Max Kantor will helm the venerable Cookbook Store's studio kitchen for the evening. National Post calls him "one of the hottest chefs in town"...a recent doc on his "Secret Pickle Supper Club" describes his social-media dinners as "must-attend events"

More details to come!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Ep 8 Fromage: Paella on the Rocks


Cello suite

Rosin raising cries:




He strings you along

Then plays

you like

a violence.

When you are the food stylist on a show about a cannibal, and the props buyer asks for buckets of sausage casing, you know it’s not for packing wieners for a picnic. Something really awful is going to happen.

By the time I get the script, I already know it’s going to be grisly but nothing in my little life has prepared me for the opening scene. Not happy just impaling nurses with IV hangers, or sticking girls on staghorns, our dear writers are making people into instruments out of split larynx and spilled gut.
Seed pods spilling their guts of olive and peppers
With this visual in mind, who can cook? I sink into my sofa and a memory rises: my brothers and I happily making a drum out of a rabbit skin and a #10 tin can while, beside us in the kitchen, our father cooked the little ex-hopper into a fricassee. There’s a fine line between the hungry and the heinous. We shudder at the sight of a flayed beast but salivate when we smell a roast. From vegan to carnivore the boundaries seem fuzzy. But not so cannibalism. It is a thing so taboo that, in many countries there doesn’t even have to be a law against it.

Why does Hannibal eat people? In a show that is all about empathy, there is no degree of empathy that can help us understand that.
Found these little candied crab snacks in Chinatown but they were too tiny for my Paella
Speaking from the deep of Hannibal’s mind, Bryan Fuller, our incredibly brilliant show writer/creator says “Eat the Rude.” Of course, Hannibal hates rudeness. I, the food stylist speaking from the deep of my stomach say “Cook the Rude.” After all, the essence of cooking is refinement. It is civilization by ritualization. By sliding scale as Levi-Strauss says in The Raw and the Cooked.
Vegetarian blood sausages with fffffava beans from  Ceof Episode (on line)
I guess Hannibal – who could have been such a nice boy if he hadn’t slid into darkness, cooks unruly people to make them better and worthy of his respect. With his batterie de cuisine, he cuts, beats, whips, tosses, binds and grinds them into fine pate or a delicate curry. Then feeds them to each other just for fun. We know he really likes Will. And Alana because Will does. And Bedelia too. But does he like them the way I like duck? With a nice chianti?

So judgy. he needs to lighten up.

So thinking of Hannibal’s subtlety and of his deceptive nature, I decide not to make a lot of the gut theme in the script. A big pile of sausages or chitlin stew would be too obvious.
Crab stuffed with Sausage pilau
I choose crab. Because crabs walk sideways. Never straight. With those big pincer claws always raised and ready to pin you in place and rip you to bits. Evasive and easily provoked -- deking to his right as you lunge to his left. So, Hannibal’s dinner scene will feature crab stuffed with saffron rice and – just to show you he does have the guts, a little bit of sausage.

Salted baby squid: Did they eat the mussels or are the mussels eating them?

Put the rice on, Sugar. Time to cook dinner.

Paella on the Rocks

While we are doing this episode, Jose Andres is jet skiing in the Caymans with Anthony Bourdain but he takes the time to email me – paella does not have sausage. So if you make this with sausage, please call it pilau.

This is a recipe from the marginalia of my cookbook, The Cocktail Chef. Paella cooked aire libre. Take your groceries outside into the summer’s evening light and try it. With a lot of sangria.

2 lb         clams in shells scrubbed clean
2 lb         mussels in shells scrubbed clean
½ lb        cooked chicken (or cooked sausages) cut in chunks
4 lg         tomatoes, cut in chunks
½ tsp      saffron, rubbed
2 cloves garlic,  minced
2 cups    rice
3 cups    stock, wine or water

1. Make the fire’s perimeter out of several large rocks of the same height, or use an iron tripod that can provide level support for your paella pan (or deep sauté pan with a lid).
2. Build a wood fire under the pan.
3. When the flames are licking hotly at the sides of the pan, add oil, garlic, tomatoes, clams and mussels. Throw in that glass of wine you’ve been drinking and cover. Simmer until mussels and clams are just cooked, removing them from the pan with a slotted spoon and transferring them to a mixing bowl as soon as the shells open. Mussels will open first and fast. Clams take longer – be patient. Set cooked seafood aside.
4. To the pan, add the rice and saffron plus enough liquid (water, stock, wine, Bloody Caesar) to equal twice the measure of rice. Allow all to boil gently. If mixture is boiling too rapidly, spread the wood away from the centre of the fire. Boil until the top of the liquid is level with the top of the rice.
5. Scoop out all flaming wood under the pan to lower the temperature, stir rice quickly and cover. Continue cooking until rice is tender (about 20 min). Return seafood to the pan along with cooked chicken or sausage and cover. Cook just until hot. 

Two cannibals are having dinner. One says, “I hate my mother-in-law.” The other replies, “So just eat the noodles.”

Next week: Juicy Beef Tenderloin and Lotus Root Salad

Friday, 10 May 2013

Ep 7: Sorbet: Tarts & Barquettes

Meat meet.

Eight ate.


Plasma, hearts, spleen:

A deep red ribbon

Whirring in his blender.

Extruding from his grinder.

Laid upon his table

Mesmerizing guests.

That bad Hannibal! He really knows how to keep a food stylist running. Now he’s having a whole bunch of friends for dinner – and that’s not counting the guests.

In the production meeting, we discuss the massive food scenes: Freezing Frenzy - Hannibal stashing his ill-gotten groceries in his Sub-Zero mini-morgue; Frying Frenzy - Hannibal cooking for a huge party: Feeding Frenzy - Hannibal presenting a lavish dinner for eight. The organ tally is mounting. I'll need organs going into the freezer, out of the freezer, onto the chopping block, through the grinder, into the ovens and onto the dinner table. More meat every way all day.

Layout of platters proposed for the dining room table

At the abattoir, my boxes of carefully culled “hero” organs are ready. Also, a pail of pig’s blood which I need for a scene where Hannibal separates blood in a centrifuge so he can use the clear plasma in a tomato broth. My guy at the plant tells me pig’s blood is not used for food much these days, but it’s more in demand by non-food industries. His company ships barrels of it all over the world to make iron supplements. Then he tells me something I can hardly believe: many slaughterhouses sell their blood to cigarette companies to put into the filters. Something about the high protein binding qualities of hemoglobin make it excellent at trapping toxins, keeping the poisons from getting into smokers’ lungs. I shake my head. Why not just eat bacon? Smoky and delicious.

Every head cheese should have a cucumber tiara studded with radishes - in the foreground, wild boar pate and king and shiitake mushrooms

I just get my offal beauties vacuum-pack for the freezer insert shots when I find out - of course, there is a last-minute change in the shooting schedule. We are shooting the dinner scene in two days! I need more organs!!!! There’s no time to requisition them from the abbatoir. I have go to the ethnic butchers and work with what’s on the racks.

I stop in at the Italian butcher who has gut, heart and liver but is horrified by my request for lung and spleen and rushes me out of his shop like I’m Rosemary’s Baby’s godmother or something. My humiliation is complete in Chinatown, where I ask for lungs, heart and liver in mangled Cantonese. “Gee yeoh…gee whang lei…gee sie,” I sing-song which sends the men at the meat counter into spasms of laughter. They are killing themselves guffawing and gasping for air as I pound my chest like Celine Dione trying to communicate “lung”.  They supply me with some of the body parts on my list and I move on, hoping to find more and better specimens elsewhere. Thank goodness for the Sino-East-West Indian shops out in the suburbs where they display everything in rows of styro trays.

Heart Tartare in vol-au-vents - a great suggestion by Robyn Stern from Jose Andres ThinkFoodGroup

Shoot day is a killer with nine food scenes. One of my assistants, Kristen Eppich, goes on-camera as a cook’s helper in the big kitchen scene. My 1st assistant, Ettie Benjamin and I stay in the trenches and handle the food prep. Our prep tables are covered in bloodied cutting boards, wads of plastic wrap, mixing bowls and pots and pans. Emerging from this mass -- a headcheese the size of a volleyball wearing a cucumber tiara, platters of galantine, liver en gelée, blood sausages, carpaccio, sopressatta and wild boar pate. Not a leafy green in sight. The director wants a meat-only dinner. And you and I and millions of viewers know what kind of meat. There are only eight people in the world who don’t -  and they are applauding Hannibal as the credits roll.

The dinner scene: A hand (and a leg and a lung) for Dr Lecter         photo: Brooke Palmer/NBC

I had to pvr Hannibal this week so I could throw octopus at the tv while I watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (I just happened to have about 20 lbs of octopus on hand for a scene I’m prepping for Dr Cabbie, the movie I’m working on right now.)  So I will view it on the weekend. This gives me time to whip up a tray of canapés to snack on while I watch it with friends. Here are a couple of recipes adapted from  Hannibal’s dinner so you can do the same:

Brain and Tartare Canapés

Here are two fillings for puff pastry tartlets. You will need 24 mini pastry shells which you can buy ready-to-use or frozen and ready-to-bake. If neither are available, buy blocks of frozen puff pastry and prepare as described below.

Tomato Brain Barquettes

Tomato Brains are the discovery of Molecular Gastronomy master, Adria Ferran and brought to my attention by Jose Andrés, our brilliant culinary advisor. They are a lesson in seeing the unusual in the ordinary. If you gently tear away the flesh from a tomato, you will reveal the seed jelly clusters which shimmer within every tomato like handfuls of ruby cabochons – or the brains of tiny Martians, depending on how your mind works. He suggested stuffing them in pastry shells for our grand banquet. I’ve added a schmeer of tapenade to add a bit of zing. 

12                barquettes or tartlet shells

3 to 4            large ripe plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp          prepared tapenade or chopped Nicoise or Kalamata olive
                     freshly ground pepper and sea salt
                     chervil, parsley or chive

1. Cut off the top ½ inch of the stem end of a tomato. Leaving the seed jelly clusters intact, gently tear away the tomato flesh to reveal a wedge-shaped cluster of seeds. Slide the tip of a sharp paring knife under the seed cluster to release it from the core of the tomato. Carefully set aside on a plate. Repeat until you have 12 to 16 clusters.
2. Spread 1/2 tsp of tapenade in the bottom of 12 of the prepared pastry shells, Slide one or two tomato brains in to shell. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a leaf of chervil, parsley or lengths of chive.

Lobotomizing tomatoes for your pastry shells

Beef Tartare Tarts

For the Dinner For Eight, Hannibal served Heart Tartare. The recipe here is for Beef Tartare although if you want to add more flavor, texture and frisson to your canapé tray, instead of beef, substitute fresh veal heart, trimmed of fat and tendons and chopped very finely. For the half-hearted, use a mixture of ground sirloin and minced heart.

12                    barquettes or tartlet shells

4 Tbsp             good quality olive oil
1 Tbsp             finely diced cornichon pickle
1 Tbsp             Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp             Worcestershire sauce
8 oz                 beef sirloin, ground OR heart, very finely minced
4 Tbsp             minced shallots
1 tsp                orange zest
freshly ground pepper and sea salt
                        truffle oil (optional)

1. In a large mxing bowl, combine olive oil, pickle, mustard and Worcestershire. Add beef, shallots and zest. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Set aside in fridge until ready to serve.
2. Just before serving, fill 12 pastry shells with beef mixture. Mound remaining mixture in the centre of serving dish and surround with filled tarts. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish generously with capers.

To make 24 Pastry Shells:

1 – 14 oz pkg            frozen puff pastry
¼ cup                        melted butter, optional

1. Thaw dough according to instructions. Pre-heat oven to 400°. On floured board, roll half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness into a rectangle that is about 9 x 7 inches . Press into small barquette tins or shape shells as follows: Cut dough into rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter. Using a 1-inch round cutter, press an impression in the middle of each 2-inch round. The impression should be as deep as possible without cutting through the dough. Prick inside round with fork tines. Repeat with remaining dough.
2. Place rounds on baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool as you prepare fillings below.
3. Prepare the rounds for filling by pulling out a few layers of the center round from each, leaving a 1/4-inch wall around the outer circumference of each shell, thus forming a well for the fillings.
4. Brush shells with butter for flavor, if desired.

Post Script

A lot of you have been asking about the High Life Eggs from the Episode Formerly-Known-As-4 which was pulled from broadcast and only available on line. I’ll post the recipe and details in a couple of days.

Also, details about a Hannibal Dinner that is being held at a pop-up June 18.

Next week: Girlfriend Sausage in Saffron Rice 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Ep 6: Entree and Lamb Tongues

The bleating lamb’s

chatty tongue

now silenced.


Lie still.

Cat caught you.

And you are

Still lying?

Is there a doctor in the house who isn’t a psychopathic killer monster??? Get me out of this episode, nurse! As Hannibal’s food stylist, I’m looking furtively for food scenes, scanning the script with my hand over my eyes because every line I read is a horrific scene I’ve revisited. Five times. 

That’s because we are in the Goldenrod revision – that means the script has been changed five times. Back in the paper script days, each revision would be issued on different colored looseleaf paper (consecutively: blue, pink, yellow, green, then goldenrod and on and on until you were in double goldenrod hell) We would clip these new colored pages into our first draft white copy to keep our script updated. Now it’s all paperless but the revisions are still named by the old colors. Except there are no colors…cuz there’s no paper. Gone like the hands of time.

Menu planning has its ups and downs 

In four days the food has gone from this:

Initial concept sketch: Tongue Baked in Salt served in the Dining Room with Blood Red Summer Pudding for dessert

...through a couple of rewrites to this:
Final plate design: Tongue en Papillote with Duxelle Sauce

“Nice to have an old friend for dinner”, says Hannibal at the top of the dining room scene as he presents plates of Lamb Tongues en Papillote to Dr Chilton and Alana Bloom. So, let me see: 3 people times 5 pages of dialogue minus 3 pages of flashbacks times 2 tongues per plate. Ummmm. That’s 72 tongues equals 24 tongues each. I don’t think any of the actors want to eat even the tip of 24 tiny tongues. Especially not the tip.

Is Raul Esparza a vegetarian? Does Caroline Dhavernas hate lamb? These are the actors doing the scene with Mikkelsen. My queries to the producer disappear into the black hole of unanswered emails.

I think about this as I watch my test batch of lamb’s tongues poach. They curl up into grayish-mauve lobes of what look like blind oversized larvae. They are not tempting.

No matter how ghoulish, I want the food to look like something you really want to taste –against your better judgment.  Every character in this show is on a knife-edge. Will teeters on the edge of sanity; Hannibal balances between truth and lies; Jack is cold, then kind. I want the food also to have the tension of precarious balance: repellant but tempting. Slightly off-center.
The Caesar salad watches with peacock eyes as I deconstruct it on the props table

Prepping for the dinner scene, I hand-shape the tongues individually out of  a modified Kibbeh recipe – bulgar ground with beef stock and mild spices. I make them bigger than lamb tongues because I want them to look like children’s tongues – out of the mouth of babes. (FBI babes?) Then I steam them and shade them with food coloring.  I make 60 which luckily, turns out to be exactly the right amount. If the director had asked for one more take I would have been in trouble. Sometimes you get lucky…
A succulent pair of tongues in an origami lotus
Sometimes you don’t…
Wine Jelly - no problem.  Sugared Roses - no problem. Norton grapes - PROBLEM!!!!!

Toto, we are not in Norton country

Two days before the shoot, another script change that has Hannibal garnishing wine jelly with Norton grapes.  

I call Chrysalis, the largest grower of Norton grapes in the US. Could they Fed-Ex us some? Sorry, they just shipped out the last of their Nortons  but they would phone around to some of the small producers.

I call my brother-in-law who studied to be a vintner in Australia. Yes, says Adam, they are in the opposite season Down Under but the grapes are still green.

I call John Szabo, the Master Sommelier who contributed wine notes to my Cocktail Chef cookbook. Nothing local that resembles Norton. Can’t I use another large round table grape? No, I say the script calls for Hannibal to peel a Norton grapes to show the flesh is the same color as the skin. All the available grapes have pale green flesh.

I call Jojo a crime reporter pal of mine who knows a lot of local wine-makers. OK, I’ve scraped the bottom of my wine-pal barrel.

Chrysalis calls back empty-handed. I knew that.

I go – as we all ultimately must, to Google. The Great One links me effortlessly to Dr. Violetka Colova of the Centre for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research at the Florida University. She is the world’s leading authority on Norton grapes. She is charming, sympathetic and full of ideas and eye-opening information but has not one single Norton grape in her vast research greenhouse.

Only one day left to solve this. I buy a couple flats of large round red grapes and start testing materials: wax, shellac, latex. In the end, I peel the grapes, dye them in purple food coloring, then dip them in some thinned purple pigmented beeswax that I had left over from an encaustic art project. Once the wax hardens, I dust the grapes with white eyeshadow to give them a just-picked bloom. By 10pm, my entire kitchen is decked with little purple balls dying and drying on wire racks. In the middle of my grape-elf work, I get a call from the director: could I bring a couple of grape alternatives. Oh, hey, no problem. I rethink my shellac idea and try painting some of the grapes with nail polish. The results are not bad at all. My call time is in 5 hours.

I wake up in 3 hours to phone my assistant, Ettie: On the way to the shoot, please stop at the 24-hour drugstore and pick up an assortment of dark nail polish. We rush to the studio and paint up a batch of alternative grapes. They dry just in time for the director to say he prefers the wax ones. Well, that worked out well.
A breadbasket I fashioned from a leaf and a horn gets kicked to the curb (too big for the shot) - in the background are several trays of little tongues waiting to go on camera.
As I write this, I’m trying not to worry about the champagne towers I built yesterday for a party scene in “Dr. Cabbie”, a film about a cab driver who becomes famous for delivering babies in his taxi. They are shooting the scene now and I’m not on set to coach the actor as he pours the champagne in that top glass --  camera rolling as the champagne floods over, filling the pyramid of glasses – or not. I hope the props guy is saying, “Well that worked out well.”

Now, to get to the meat of the matter, the recipe for this week’s episode:

Silver Tongue Devils

An easy version of Hannibal's Lambs' Tongues en Papillote with Duxelle Sauce
Serves 4 small portions

It’s a little tricky to get lamb tongues so I’m giving you a recipe using cooked beef tongue which you can buy by the pound at a deli (or brine and poach a fresh one yourself.) For Hannibal, I folded origami lotuses out of parchment paper to present the tongues but here, I’ll give directions for folding simple foil packets to bake the tongue in. Elegant packets can be made “en Papillote” out of heart-shaped paper if you know the technique and have the parchment, but this foil version is dead simple.

For the Duxelles
½ cup       chopped red onions
2 cups      chopped mushrooms
3 Tbsp     butter
¾ cup      white wine
pinch       nutmeg
to taste     salt and pepper
¼ tsp       balsamic vinegar

For the Tongue packets
4              sheets light aluminum foil cut in 12” diameter circles
12 oz       cooked tongue, sliced ¼” thick cut in pieces 3” x 2”
1              tomato, cut in ½” dice
4 sprigs   fresh rosemary
                olive oil

  1. Make the Duxelles: In a very large sauté pan over medium high heat, melt butter and add onions, frying til they begin to soften. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, just until mushrooms release their juices.
  2. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced to 2 or 3 Tbsp. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and balsamic. Set aside to cool.
  3. To make the packets, place a circle of foil on working surface. In the centre of the lower half of the circle of foil, place 1 slice of tongue, top with 1 Tbsp Duxelle, another slice of tongue and more Duxelle. Add another layer if your tongue slices are small. To close up the packet, bring the upper half of the circle of foil over so the upper and lower circumferences meet. Crimp the edges together well, making the seal as airtight as possible and taking care to leave at least one inch of space all around the tongue.  This is where the aromatic steam will build up during the baking, puffing out your foil packets. Repeat with remaining foil sheets. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving. Reserve remaining Duxelles to serve on the side.
  4. Twenty minutes before serving time, place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 15 minutes. Reheat Duxelles. Plate the foil packets unopened. When guests open their packets at the table, a lovely puff of rosemary-scented steam will rise to whet their appetites.

For the shoot, the vegetable accompaniment was steamed squash – to give the actors something to eat other than the bulgar tongues. 

Next week: Heart Tartare and Jose Andre’s Tomato Brains