LIKE ME! LIKE ME!

You know that kid from your school days who worked so hard to be liked? That’s how I think of Beef Wellington. Filet mignon encased in a flaky puff pastry with a rich layer of mushrooms and pâté. It cries out for affection. Years ago when I tasted Beef Wellington for the first time at a wedding banquet, I felt like I’d found an exciting new friend.

It’s striking how quickly one’s tastes can change. I don’t really have an appetite for filet mignon anymore. But when I read about the Carrots Wellington at a recently opened East Village restaurant, the old enamor came rushing back. Here’s my spin on this winsome new classic.

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CARROTS WELLINGTON
curried duxelles, carrot top pesto, baby kale
(based on a dish at Narcissa NYC)

for the puff pastry:
10 ounces cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purposed flour

Cut 8 ounces of the butter into small cubes and refrigerate. Measure the water and add the salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Coarsely dice the remaining 4 ounces of butter. Place the flour in a food processor and add the 4 ounces of butter. Pulse  the food processor about 10-12 times until the butter is absorbed. Add the remaining butter and pulse to distribute. Add the salt/water mixture and pulse 3-4 times until the dough begins to form a rough ball. Do not over-process. Flour a work surface and scrape the dough out of the food processor. Shape the dough into a rectangle and press with your hands to flatten. Fold the dough in thirds horizontally and again in thirds vertically so create layers. Again press the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.

for the curried duxelles:
2 shallots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 pound of oyster or white button mushrooms
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high flame. Add the duxelles mixture and saute for 8-10 minutes until the moisture has evaporated and the consistency is that of a thick paste. Remove from heat and stir in the curry powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Set the duxelles in the refrigerator to chill.

for assembly:
8-10 carrots, peeled
2 egg yolks + 1 teaspoon milk
a handful of fresh carrot tops (greens)
a handful of flat leaf parsley
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Heat the oven to 425. Let the dough and duxelles sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Cut the carrots so they’re all the same length. Roast the carrots for 10-15 minutes until slightly softened, then let them cool. On a floured surface, press the dough into a rectangle that is about a 1/4 inch thick and wide enough to enclose the carrots. Spread the duxelles over the dough. Use your hands to bundle the carrots, alternating them so that the tapered ends aren’t all on one side.  Place the carrots on the dough and firmly wrap the dough completely around the carrots, pressing down to seal the edges. Try to get as round of a “log” as possible, since it will flatten partially in the oven. Use a knife to trim off any extra dough. Place the log on a baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 45 minutes or until the exterior is a deep golden brown. While it is in the oven, quickly blanche the carrot tops in simmering water and then shock it in ice cold water (this helps to retain a bright green color). Drain the carrot tops. In a food processor, puree the carrot tops, parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Remove the Wellington from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting thick slices. Serve immediately with the carrot top pesto and a simple salad.

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