Angie Mar is a household name for New York City foodies for a reason.
Mar took fine dining to another level earlier this year with the opening of her new restaurant, Les Trois Chevaux, which pays homage to the “great French restaurants of New York’s eras past.” With dishes such as ash-crusted pigeon breast and truffles and caviar, waitstaff uniforms custom designed by Christian Siriano, and even a dining room dress code (no sneakers, no jeans; don’t forget your jacket), Les Trois Chevaux echoes the dining traditions of yore, but with a forward-thinking twist. Mar’s attention to detail doesn’t just exist when she’s hard at work at the restaurant, however. The same ethos applies when she’s hosting a get-together at home, especially during the holiday season.
“For me, entertaining at home is much like entertaining our guests at the restaurant every night—it’s about the right music, the right lighting, setting a beautiful ambiance, and, of course, curating the right mix of guests so you have incredible energy,” Mar tells BAZAAR.com. “[But] I always plan ahead. I don’t like being the host who is never at the table because I am busy in the kitchen cooking. I like to do the majority of the prep work ahead of time so the day of our gathering, I can simply finish things in the oven and spend time with my guests.”
Eliminating the stress that can surround a holiday celebration means enlisting the help of loved ones. “Because I am a chef, everyone thinks I want to cook the entire holiday meal, which is absolutely untrue,” she says. “I like to make holidays at my place a potluck, but I always take care of the mains. It makes things more interesting to curate a menu with friends, and we always plan an entire meal with dishes that are complementary to each other. It’s also a wonderful way to let others participate in the planning of a holiday dinner. That’s truly what it’s about after all.”
No meal is complete without the proper company, and being reunited with loved ones is what Mar is looking most forward to this holiday season. “I think over the past two years, we have all learned not to take our loved ones for granted,” she says. “I am so thrilled that we will all be able to spend time with each other and appreciate it so much more now.”
Below, Mar shares one of her favorite recipes from Les Trois Chevaux: Crabe Pithiviers.
(Dungeness crab, frangipane of bay scallop, oloroso sherry)
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
For the Scallop Frangipane:
- 130g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 15g granulated sugar
- 5g kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 160g bay scallops, cleaned, muscle removed
- 50g heavy cream
- ¼ vanilla bean, pod scraped and discarded
- 1g finely ground white pepper
- 85g finely ground, bleached almond flour
- 40g all-purpose flour
For the Filling and Pastry:
- 460g picked crab claw meat, or lump crabmeat (If you use fresh crab, save the shells for the sauce; if you are purchasing picked crabmeat, see my note in the sauce section below.)
- Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry)
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
For the Sauce:
- Reserved crab shells (If you are using picked crabmeat and have no shells, you can purchase three or four shell-on shrimp and use these in lieu of the crab shells.)
- 990g veal stock
- 50g brandy
- 125g good-quality oloroso sherry
- Healthy pat of Beurre de Baratte butter
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Roll pâte feuilletée to a quarter inch in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut four rounds that are 11.5cm in diameter. Cut four more rounds that are 16cm in diameter.
- Set aside in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- In a food processor, cream the butter, sugar, and salt until it doubles in size, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, scallops, heavy cream, vanilla, and white pepper; combine until smooth; scrape down the bowl twice. Add the almond flour and all-purpose flour; combine until smooth, scraping down the bowl twice. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the crab claw meat, very gently folding over to incorporate. Try not to break up the crab; the goal is to have gorgeous crab claw meat bound together by the frangipane.
- Once the crab is incorporated, divide the mixture into four loose balls; refrigerate for 30 minutes, allowing the mixture to firm up just a bit.
Assembly & Baking:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place all four of the 11.5cm pastry circles on individual parchment paper, about 1 inch larger than the pastry itself. Prick gently with a fork all over to prevent the pastry from rising unevenly. Working quickly, so as not to melt the frangipane, form the balls into as even and smooth a ball as possible, placing in the middle of the pastry, leaving a border of 1cm. Score the border of the pastry with the broad side of a fork and brush lightly with egg wash.
- Lay the larger, 16cm pastry round over top of the mixture, gently smoothing out any lumps and bumps. Line up the rim of the top layer of pastry with the bottom layer and gently press to seal. I like to lightly prick the top layer of the rim with a fork before I score and seal, just to ensure the edge will not rise unevenly.
- Repeat assembly with the remaining pithiviers.
- Brush the pithiviers with egg wash, making sure to seal the sides where the pastry rounds meet. At this point, I like to run my fingers around the side of the pastry once its egg washed; I feel it evens out where the edges meet and helps to seal the edges. Once you have done that and the pithivier is quite even, lightly score the rim of the pastry with the edge of a spoon; you, of course, can use a fork, but I find that a spoon held at a 45-degree angle is far more aesthetically pleasing.
- Let the pithiviers rest at room temperature until the first egg wash is a bit tacky, about 15 minutes, and then brush with egg wash once more. Let them rest for another 10 minutes, to let the second coat of egg wash set, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Bake until golden brown, rotating once or twice during the baking process, about 25-35 minutes. While the pithiviers bake, make the sauce.
- In a heavy-bottom sauteuse, over high heat, dry-roast the crab shells until blistered and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Deglaze and flambé with the brandy. Add the veal stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 33 minutes (should have 1 1/3 cups liquid). Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan, pressing the shells to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the shells. Set the saucepan with the sauce base aside until the pithiviers are ready to serve.
- Once the pithiviers come out of the oven, we can finish our sauce. Bring the reduction to a boil over high heat once again. Add the sherry and reduce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 12 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Add the butter and swirl to incorporate, adding gloss and thickness.
- Plate each pithivier and surround generously with the oloroso sauce. Serve immediately.
Bianca Betancourt is the Culture Editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com where she covers all things film, TV, music, and of course, Royal Family ongoings.
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