12 Rue Pecquay
Some Parisian chefs are fleeing the world of haute cuisine to open bistros where they can prepare the kind of food they like to eat. Mickaël Gaignon's cooking hasn't lost its fancy roots, but his dishes are nourishing and cheerful in a way that wouldn't fly in a Michelin-aspiring place. A protégé of famed chef Pierre Gagnaire, Gaignon has created a quirky menu ranging from luxuriant artichoke soup overlaid with briny cockles to poached brill on a pungent mess of chanterelles and sauerkraut. Gaignon's wife, Auralie, the sole waitress, navigates her way around the tiny tables with aplomb.
Tip: The five-course ménu dégustation is well worth the $51 price (entrées, $29$31).
Hot Table Exclusive: Try chef Mickaël Gaignon's recipe for old-fashioned roast veal tenderloin.
Roast Veal Tenderloin with Summer Vegetables
Chef Mickaël Gaignon
"Growing up, I used to prepare this with my mother using vegetables from my father's garden. Most days we had pig or chicken, which was less expensive, but on Sunday we prepared this veal for the entire family. The meat was slow roasted with all the wonderful fresh vegetables. Cooking this dish, smelling it, eating it reminds me of my youth. Almost all my recipes are inspired by how I was raised, cooking with produce straight from the garden."
2 Roma or heirloom tomatoes, peeled, quartered and seeded
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 pounds veal tenderloin, trimmed
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 small zucchini
1 lemon, juiced
2 baby artichokes (or artichoke hearts)
3 ounces baby new potatoes
1 cup veal stock
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Season tomatoes with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, and 1 teaspoon thyme and transfer to baking sheet or large glass dish. Cook for 2 hours or until tomatoes are very tender.
Remove tomatoes from oven and raise temperature to 375 degrees.
Bring veal to room temperature. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large pan or cast iron skillet. Sear the veal on all sides, browning it. Then transfer it to a large baking dish and season with 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon thyme, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 135 degrees.
While the meat is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, about five minutes. Remove and let cool before cutting 1/4-inch slices on a bias. Bring the water to boil again and add lemon juice.
If working with whole artichokes, turn each one in the palm of your hand, carefully slicing off the leaves until you reach the tender heart. Boil the heart in salted water with the lemon five to eight minutes, and then cool slightly before slicing in half.
Cut the baby potatoes in half length-wise. Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a heavy pan and fry the potatoes until golden brown, about five minutes depending on size.
When the meat is nearly done, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a pan and add all the vegetables. Gently warm the veal stock on the stovetop. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let rest for five to ten minutes.
Carve the veal into 1/2-inch slices. Prepare each plate with some of the vegetables and slices of veal, then finish with some veal stock.