It's all about doing things right for Matt Taylor.
In the kitchen of Metro Brasserie & Bar in Old Town Scottsdale, his staff of 12 guys is loose and laid-back during the day. But, in the kitchen, things change.
"When we're actually cooking, there's a set way we do things," he says. But, unlike a lot of chefs you'll find in French restaurants, "there's not too much yelling and screaming," he says.
A 25 year-old traditionalist, in the kitchen, Taylor is a highly technique-driven chef, but he didn't care where his cooks when to culinary school -- or if they went at all. And when he became an Executive Chef for the first time when Metro Brasserie opened last October, he says, "it didn't really change me or anything."
It doesn't seem as if it did.
Today he's offering up a recipe for you that follows his ingredient-driven philosophy to a tee. In Taylor's kitchen, seasonality governs and technique reigns. Here is his chilled cucumber soup with blue crab and dill salad.
Soup: 6 each English Cucumbers (peeled and sliced) 1 quart Buttermilk 2 cups Prepared Mayonnaise 2 tablespoons Sugar Tabasco, to taste Salt, to taste
Salad: 1 pound Blue Crabmeat 1 tablespoon Chopped Dill 2 tablespoons Cucumber (small dice)
2 tablespoons Celery (small dice) 2 tablespoons Red Bell Pepper (small dice) 2 teaspoons Olive Oil 1 teaspoons lemon juice Salt, to taste
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Soup: In a blender, purée the cucumber with the buttermilk until smooth (do this in batches if necessary). Whisk in the mayonnaise to thicken and season with the sugar, Tabasco, salt and lemon juice.
Salad: Combine all ingredients and season to taste.
Plating: Ladle 8 ounces of soup into a bowl and place the crab salad in the center. A couple drops of olive oil and some leaves of dill can garnish.
*Note: Caviar may also be added as garnish if desired.