WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Feb. 11, President Barack Obama hosted French President Francois Hollande at the White House for an elegant state dinner.
The evening was filled with designer gowns, A-list celebrities and political leaders, but the focus of the event was all on the food.
And although the evening shone the spotlight on the French, the dinner menu celebrated simple and accessible American cuisine.
WTOP Food Contributor Mary Beth Albight says the menu was so simple, it’s perfectly easy to recreate at home.
“There were lots of great things on here, that you could literally run to the grocery store right now and go and purchase and you could cook this dinner, probably in an hour, and do a beautiful job,” she says.
Albright, who is a food lawyer and food expert, breaks down the menu, the ingredients and the preparation for an at-home state dinner.
Albright explains Veloute is a classic French sauce that is often served as a soup.
“It’s a very thick, rich sauce. So it’s a potato soup you can make very easily at home: potatoes, cream, stock, salt and pepper. You can throw in an egg yolk if you want to make it really rich,” she says.
As for the crisped chive potatoes, Albright says all you have to do is fry up some potatoes and season them with chives. Then, add them to the top of the Veloute for an extra crunch.
“And if you want to put a little dollop of caviar on top, certainly do so. If that’s not in your budget, it’s fine,” Albright says.
Winter Garden Salad
Petite Mixed Radish, Baby Carrots, Merlot Lettuce, Red Wine Vinaigrette
This course is so simple, Albright says it hardly needs an explanation — just a quick trip to the store.
“Look people, if you can’t make that at home, I can’t help you. You can buy a bag of salad and a red wine vinaigrette and that’s it.”
Plate it up, put on the dressing and call it a course.
The Main Course
Dry-aged Rib Eye Beef
Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese, Charred Shallots, Oyster Mushrooms, Braised Chard
To recreate this dish, Albright says to purchase a bone-in rib eye from the butcher counter at your grocery store.
No need to stare down the snow-covered grill. This dish can be prepared inside on the stove in a “super-hot pan.”
“Get the pan as hot as you can, sear that puppy up, get it brown on both sides — really charred and beautiful,” Albright says.
Take the steak out and let it rest. Keep the pan hot, but bring the temperature down a bit. Pour some red wine, chicken stock and some blue cheese crumbles in the pan to make a sauce to top the steak.
The White House served the rib eye with some braised chard. Albright says this is as easy as saut