We’re going to make a delicious veal cheek dish. First we're going to brane and braise the veal cheeks. As a garnish we serve them with an artichoke flan, pan fried artichokes and a lovage oil.
How to brine & prepare the veal cheeks
veal or beef cheeks
Pour the water in a pan and add the nitrite salt. Mix this and submerge the veal or beef cheeks. One veal cheek is enough for 2 to 3 persons in a small course or 1 whole one in a main course. Let this brine in your fridge for 24 hours.
The brined cheeks
Take the brined cheeks and transfer them on a towel and dry them all around. Then heat up a big pot, add a splash of oil and start pan frying the cheeks till golden brown on both sides. Meanwhile cut the shallots in half and clean them. Now chop them. When the cheeks are golden add the shallots and fry for another 4 minutes. Then deglaze the pot with the beef stock and add water until the cheeks are submerged completely. Also add the bay leaves. Now take a piece of parchment paper and fold it to one corner till you can fold it no more. Then place the point of the parchment paper in the middle of the pot and cut away the excess paper. Also cut a small hole in the middle. Now place the paper on the pot, this will prevent the broth from vaporizing to quickly and it will insure a more even cooking process on the cheeks. Then bring this to a boil, once it’s boiling transfer the pot in an oven at 85 degrees Celsius and cook the cheeks for 12 hours. You can also do this in a sous-vide and I always do it overnight. The next day the cheeks are beautifully tender, and you can gently remove them from the broth. Then remove the thick layer of fat and use a spoon to scrape away any other membranes. Now let them cool down in your fridge.
Then take the big pot with the cooking broth and pass it through a fine sieve. Reduce the liquid on a simmer and while it’s reducing use a ladle to remove any fat that floats on top. When the glaze is reduced the flavor is very deep and it also is a bit sticky. Don't reduce it too much because then it will become too salty. To balance the flavor season the glaze with a rich balsamic vinegar. I will make it even more sticky and give it a sweet and rich flavor.
I use beautiful Violetta artichokes. For this dish I’m only using 1.5 artichokes for 1 dish. First remove any excess leaves and cut the stem around 4 centimeters from the artichoke. Place them in a big pot and cover them completely with water. For every liter of water you used at 10 grams of salt. I used 4 liters, so I need to season it with 40 grams of salt. Transfer the pot on you stove and place a smaller pot on the artichokes to ensure that they stay submerged. Bring it to a boil on a medium heat. Once it has boiled turn off the heat and let it cool down completely out of the fridge. After that drain the artichokes and let them drip for a couple of minutes. Then you can start to peel away the leaves. These I’m not using for this dish, but you can definitely use them for a sauce or just eat them on their own. When all the leaves are removed use a small thin knife to cut away the skin. Cut away as little as possible and keep the trimmings for later. Then use a small spoon or a round scoop to scoop out the soft inside. Now cut them in half and transfer them on a tray. Cover them with a thin layer of oil to prevent them from changing color and keep them in your fridge for later.
The artichoke flan
the artichoke trimmings
Transfer the artichoke trimmings in a blender together with the egg yolk, the cream, the olive oil, the salt and the white wine. Blend this till smooth. Then pipe it in a silicon mold. Now cover it with foil and steam it at 85 degrees Celsius for 14 minutes. After that let it set in your freezer till solid.
The lovage oil
neutral oil (I use sunflower oil)
First transfer the lovage leaves into a blender together with the neutral oil. Blend this till the oil is 65 degrees Celsius. It will heat up from the friction. Then pour the oil on a sieve that’s lined with a kitchen paper and let it drain in your fridge.
The final prep
You only need to chop some chives, pick some savory herb flowers, and portion the cheeks into the desired shape and size. As option you can also already pan fry the artichokes, so you only need to pop them in the oven when you need them. Just fry them in some oil and when they start to color add a knot of butter, turn them around and fry for another minute.
How to finish the dish
First remove the flan from the mold and place it on a plate. Cover this with plastic wrap and heat it up at 80 degrees Celsius for around 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat up a frying pan, add a splash of oil and pan fry the cheeks on all sides till golden and crispy. Once all sides are golden add a generous amount of the glaze and base the cheeks till the glaze starts to stick. Then transfer them on a tray base them once more and then sprinkle the chopped chives and the savory herb flowers on top. Now place the glazed cheek in the middle of the flan and also add three of the hot artichokes on the side. Now decorate with nasturtium leaves and fennel flowers and leaves. Finally heat up some glaze and add 1 on 1 the lovage oil. Mix this and them serve a tablespoon or two on the outside of the flan.