Warm Mushroom Salad with Parmesan and Arugula
Legendary chef Pierre Gagnaire (left) would be the last person to articulate his own incredible genius. But by example, he's encouraged young chefs to break free of the rules that have governed the French canon for so long. "There is no one doing creative cooking who does not go to taste Pierre's food and get inspired by him," says famed French chef Daniel Boulud.
Here are several brilliant Pierre Gagnaire recipes, such as this fantastic mushroom salad.
Foie Gras Soup with Lentil Gnocchi and Balsamic Onions
"Earth, color, red things," are the words Pierre Gagnaire uses to describe the Hermès perfume that inspired his dish, Parfums de Terre. This marvelous soup is one of the dish's seven components. Both the foie gras that enriches the broth and the lentil gnocchi are earthy; the lightly pickled onion wedges add brightness and tang, not to mention a hint of color.
Beet-and-Orange-Infused Daikon with Onion Puree
Inspired by the Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-Ki, Pierre Gagnaire's ingenious and surprisingly simple dish looks like a brush dipped in magenta paint.
Sautéed Shrimp with Shrimp Hummus
For this appetizer, Pierre Gagnaire cleverly weaves together two major ingredients, shrimp and chickpeas: He quickly sears shrimp and uses the shells to make a stock to flavor the hummus. He then uses chickpeas to make the delicate cracker garnish. At his eponymous restaurant in Paris, it's part of a dish called Orientale, inspired by his walks in the desert. (He takes those walks when he's cooking at Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in Dubai and his newest place, Twist, in Las Vegas.) "I like the silence. The wind. The simple rhythm of the days," he says.
Caramelized Apple Clafoutis
This lightly sweet pastry, studded with caramelized apple, is one component of an elaborate dish entitled Brillat-Savarin. Its major ingredients—apples, crème fraîche, Calvados and the Brillat-Savarin cheese—all come from Normandy in France.