Foodie Chap With Chef Adam Keough, Absinthe Restaurant
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
A Boston native, Adam Keough’s passion for the culinary arts was fueled at a young age by cooking with his grandparents at family holiday gatherings. He is influenced by the culinary simplicity of his Boston roots and incorporates this basic approach to food plus techniques and philosophies learned through his years in fine dining into the brasserie fare he offers at Absinthe as Executive Chef.
At the age of 16 he landed his first job, at a local South Boston restaurant, and four years later he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After honing his skills through an externship at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, he began his professional career as junior sous-chef under award-winning chef Anthony Ambrose at his restaurant, Ambrosia on Huntington, considered one of the best restaurants in Boston. After a year, he was promoted to Chef-de-Cuisine and began to adopt his own culinary style.
Keough went on to work under Joshua Skenes at Chez TJ in Los Gatos, California, before joining Michael Mina and the Mina Restaurant Group as the Interim Chef at Arcadia in San Jose, California. In February 2006, the 28-year-old chef opened Stonehill Tavern for Mina at the St.Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, as Executive Sous-Chef, to much success.
“Being a Chef is about
bringing people together.”– Chef Adam Keough
Keough’s experience brings a high level of creativity to Absinthe and Arlequin Cafe’s menus, earning the restaurant three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle in October 2010 and a spot in the publication’s list of “Top-100 Bay Area Restaurants” for 2011.
Chef’s revamped lunch & dinner menu at ABSINTHE features seasonal offerings including; Local Sole with citrus-fennel brown butter, caramelized fingerling potatoes, capers and fava greens; Kurobuta Pork Rib-Eye with jalapeno-cheddar grits, braised red cabbage, and natural jus; and Coq Au Vin with red-Burgundy-braised Mary’s chicken, bacon, roasted crimini mushroom, crostini, and persillade.
Keough lives in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, and when not at Absinthe enjoys shopping in the markets of Chinatown, cooking at home with his girlfriend, and exploring the Bay Area.
We met at the popular Hayes Valley restaurant for our Foodie Chap chat. Boy that bar is a hopping noon and night. Where there is good food and killer cocktails the people will flock and there certainly do flock in numbers to ABSINTHE.
Enjoy the chat and the yummy yum yum recipe…a dish that will make you yell – “ooh la la”!!
5 Tasty Questions with Chef Adam Keough, Absinthe Restaurant
1) Being a chef to you is about…?
To me it’s about bringing people together that you care about, about teamwork, working together in the kitchen, tasting your food together and just having passion while doing it.
2) It’s midnight, I go to your fridge at home, what will I find?
Probably four or five to-go containers from Lers Ros.
3) Cookbook you cant live without?
Still standing strong about the French Laundry Cookbook. It inspired me at a young age, so I’ll stick with that one.
4) If not a chef, in a second life you come back as?
I’d be a football coach.
5) Last supper, a couple of guests, who would they be and what will you eat?
I’d have my family. I’d have family that I don’t have around anymore, and we would make something we always enjoyed growing up as a family, my grandmother’s pastina soup.
Bouillabaisse: Provençal Seafood Stew
Bouillabaisse (BOOL-yuh-BAYZ) should really be made for two or more people. A Provencal seafood stew, most common to the area between Marseilles and Toulon, but other areas have their own variations.
Using lean white fish and shellfish common to the region. Scorpion fish (rascasse) are important. It should have no fewer than 6-8 types of seafood. Also should contain saffron, white wine, tomato, olive oil, and herbs. Croutons should be present and sometimes rouille.
Rough chop head, bones and trimmings from white fish. Take care to remove the gills and rinse thoroughly. Sweat the bones in pure olive oil in a brazier with roughly chopped peeled carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, peppercorn, leek greens, cloves of garlic, thyme and parsley stems and orange rind.
Do not let fish or vegetables color. Add white dry vermouth and white wine to a two-inch depth. Boil just long enough to burn off the alcohol. Add cold water just to cover. Salt lightly. Bring to simmer. Skim. Simmer 20-30 minutes and strain promptly (through cheesecloth). Leave to settle and pour off all but sediment at bottom of the container. The fumet should be limpid and sweet.
Rouille (Add to order splashed over the soup, as well as on 2 baguette croutons rubbed with garlic and olive oil) For this dish the rouille should be spicy:
2 Red bell peppers
2 fresh red Anaheim or Pasilla peppers
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil
Cayenne or Tabasco (Optional)
Roast and peel the peppers and chilies. Discard seeds and skins.
In a mortar, crush the garlic to a paste with salt. Add the peppers and chilies with any roasting juices and pound with the mortar and pestle to a homogeneous mass. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then the olive oil. Taste and add a little cayenne if desired to make a hotter sauce.
Lean white-fleshed fish; try to always have rascasse or scorpion fish of some type, monkfish, sea bass, John Dory, Halibut, Red Snapper, or tile fish. Cod is too flaky. The addition of crab (usually blue), langoustine, and or mussels makes it more Toulouse than Marseilles.
Cook peeled potatoes. The potatoes should be large such as russets and be cooked enough to provide some starch to the bouillabaisse, and fennel ahead in fish fumet, fennel liquor can also be added back to the fumet.
Add thin wedges of fennel, fresh thyme, pieces of potato, and tomato concasse and threads of saffron to the fumet. Add the fish as it makes sense depending what has been chosen. Once about to plate and rough chopped parsley. Plate and splash generously with rouille.
Serve one or two rouille croutons on the side.
Leave pieces of white fish larger.
Would be great with fresh white beans to replace potatoes, but don’t call it a bouillabaisse.
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