Cook the Book

Duo de Boeuf, Bone Marrow-Crusted Tardivo, Sweet Potato Dauphine From 'Daniel'

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[Photograph: Thomas Schauer]

This duo of beef is a signature dish at Daniel Boulud's eponymous restaurant. It changes with the seasons, but the pairing of braised and seared beef stays the same. As could be expected from a high-end signature dish, the recipe is far from simple. The recreation, in Boulud's new cookbook, Daniel, is a challenge, taking at least two days to prepare in its totality. There is a pot of short ribs to braise, bone marrow to procure, a few sweet potato dauphines to fry, and a filet to sear, among other things. But, as the case has been all week, the effort pays off. This is an epic dish, one to cook for those you love.

Why I picked this recipe: I wanted a challenge, and I wanted beef for dinner.

What worked: Boulud's duo was indeed a wonderful representation of beef and its complementary flavors. Each component was strong on its own, and equally good smushed together on the plate.

What didn't: The most challenging aspect of this dish is the last-minute assembly. The recipe doesn't lay out a terribly clear method of tackling the task of searing steak, frying potatoes, broiling radicchio, and reheating a purée all at the same time. I recommend tackling each component separately while keeping the finished elements warm at the back of the stove. Unless, that is, you have a brigade of chefs helping you out in the background.

Suggested tweaks: My favorite elements of the dish (the short ribs and the sweet potato purée) are both pretty easy to make and taste great on their own. If you're looking to pick a few pieces to make, choose those. That said, the sweet potato purée recipe doesn't make very much, so you'll want to scale it up by at least double if you want to serve it as a side dish. Many of the components can be made ahead of time, so feel free to spread out the work over a couple of days.

I also ran into trouble buying marrow bones (pro tip: try to order them more than a few days ahead of time), so I had to cut them out of the dish at the last minute. I made the crust with just butter, shallots, and breadcrumbs, cutting back on the amount of breadcrumbs to compensate for the lack of marrow. Finally, I couldn't bring myself to spend close to $20 on a jar of piment d'Espelette, so I used a mixture of smoked paprika and cayenne instead.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Daniel: My French Cuisine to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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