– bones restaurant | chef james henry –
43 rue godefroy cavaignac, 75011
[update: james has moved on. following a short break and as at august 2015, the restaurant has reopened sundays and mondays to empty its wine cellar]
Man if you thought eating in Paris was good in like 1992 you should get your arse back here. And soon. Granted you still have to wade through a whole lot of tired looking set menus and ‘classics.’ But (and this is for anyone who has slept face down in their chicken consommé for the last decade) Paris has gone through a bit of a culinary shakeup of late. A whole new generation of creative chefs, cooks and baristas have been serving up some really adventurous and interesting stuff, as well as finally starting to remedy the once woeful coffee situation here. No more lobster stuffed with tacos. Or over-extracted espresso doubles.
One such chef is Australian James Henry, owner of Bones restaurant in the 11eme. Henry came to Paris and cooked at both Spring and Au Passage before opening his own restaurant in January 2013. Since then, he has been showing Paris that the rest of the world knows how to eat too, delivering his own ever-changing set menu of something like seven courses based on fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients. On top of that, he makes pretty much everything in house – churned butter, sourdough, bottarga, charcuterie (ballsy move for an Australian in Paris but deftly executed).
This post is inspired by a recent dinner there, where Henry served a dish of paper thin cuttlefish with peas and broad beans and basque boudin noir in broth. In the spirit of cooking with seasonal market produce, we substituted a couple of the ingredients with what we could find: the cuttlefish for scallops and the boudin noir for smoked speck. You should do the same, wherever you are.
4 large scallops
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1 cup shelled fresh broad beans
200g smoked speck, thickly cut
1 stalk of celery
parsley stalks (for the broth)
3 baby leeks
small bunch of dill
Start by making the broth. Remove the rind from the speck (you could easily use a smoked ham hock for this too, in which case remove the meat and use the bone) and gently fry in a small amount of olive oil so it releases the fat. Cut the white end of the leek into 1cm discs. Keep a few of the discs aside for later and throw the rest in the pan with the speck rind. When they have softened a bit, add the carrot, celery and parsley, all roughly chopped. Season and gently fry for a few minutes before covering with boiling water. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain through a fine sieve. Set aside for later.
While the broth is simmering, shell the peas and broad beans and blanch for two minutes (add a few of the pea shells to the broth if you want to). Drain then refresh in cold water. Remove the skins from the broad beans.
When you are ready to serve, bring the broth back to a simmer while you get everything else ready. Spoon a mix of peas and broad beans into individual serving bowls. Roughly dice the speck and fry on a medium heat until it caramelises. Divide between each of the bowls – two or three pieces per person should suffice. In the same pan, gently fry the discs of leek reserved from earlier on each cut side. Try to keep them together so they brown evenly. Place these in each of the bowls too.
Turn the heat up slightly under your pan, add the scallops and sear each flat side for one minute. The centre should still be glassy while the outside is caramelised. Divide evenly between each bowl and ladle a spoon of broth over the top. Don’t drown everything, you want just enough liquid to know it is there… but this ain’t no soup.
Finally, garnish with a generous amount of dill and lemon zest and serve.