Which gastronome would possibly dare to say they did not know this chef? Starting at a very young age, Jean-François Piège had reached the position of Chef De Partie at the Crillon aged 20. He then worked for Alain Ducasse for 12 years, at Louis XV in Monaco at first, followed by the Relais du Parc and eventually as chef of the Plaza Athénée where he was awarded three stars. After opening his own business, consisting of a top restaurant and brasserie, he was soon awarded two more. Piège was honoured with the accolade of chef of the year on many occasions and is well known in France for his participation in the TV programme Top Chef. Veal is the love of his life. “We always have veal on the menu in the restaurant and in the brasserie. It reminds me of my childhood, and it’s too bad Parisians only want white veal. The beauty of veal is that almost everybody likes it and the French are especially good at reminiscing about their love of veal.”
For the jus, finely cut the trimmings and brown well in oil. Add the butter and then the onions, garlic and thyme. Remove the fat from the pan, fry some more and deglaze with fond blanc. Add the fond brun, bring to a boil and simmer for at least 2 hours. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and season to taste. For the shavings, peel the chestnuts and grate using a micro plane grater and sprinkle over a baking sheet. Leave them in the oven for 90 to 120 minutes at 90°C/195°F to dry, then set to one side.
For the pickles, peel the pumpkin, cut into 2 mm-thick ribbons using a mandoline and season with salt. Sauté on a plancha with some olive oil, roll up tightly into rosettes and place upright in a deep dish. Heat the rest of the ingredients, leave to cool, then pour over the rosettes to marinate. For the roasted butternut squash, cut or peel into 2 cm-thick slices, season with salt and brown in olive oil on both sides. Add the garlic and butter, cover and simmer until done. Mash the cooked butternut squash with a fork, put in rectangular moulds and cover with one teaspoon of mascarpone. Stand the pickled pumpkin rosettes into the mascarpone, standing upright.
Brown the seasoned sweetbreads all over in sizzling butter and bake in the oven until done. Fry the shavings in sizzling butter until golden brown and add the sweetbreads to the shavings. Season with fleur de sel, grated lime, Pondicherry pepper and glaze briefly with the veal jus. Arrange the pumpkin and butternut squash on a plate and garnish with the beet greens, blood sorrel and the grated lime. Present the sweetbreads as one dish at the table and then slice.
1250g trimmed and washed veal sweetbreads, 1 lime, baby blood sorrel leaves, fleur de sel, Pondicherry pepper, black pepper, beet greens.
For the veal jus
2kg veal trimmings, vegetable oil, 2 onions, 100g butter, 2 garlic bulbs, 1 bunch thyme, 100ml fond blanc, 1l fond brun.
For the shavings
For the pickles
1/4 pumpkin, 10g acacia honey, 20g white wine vinegar, 30g water, 1 tsp piment d’Espelette, 1/2 stem of finely-cut lemon grass, 1g crushed coriander seeds.
For the roasted butternut squash
1/4 butternut squash, 20g butter, 1 clove of garlic, 8 tsp of mascarpone.
Slice the rump into two pieces, one thicker than the other. Then slice the thicker piece in half, to give you a total of 3 pieces of equal size. Roll in oil, season with salt and fry until golden brown all over. Pour some olive oil on a baking sheet, add the finely-chopped garlic and thyme, and then roll the meat through it. Bake in the oven at 120°C/250°F for 14 minutes. Allow the meat to rest at 50°C/120°F. For the tuna, dissolve the gelatin in sherry vinegar, drain the tuna and mix with the Parmesan cheese, the vinegar, the candied lemon and the cream until smooth. For the puree, peel the potatoes and put into cold salted water to cook. Put the cooked potatoes into a passe-vite (food mill) and add butter and cream until creamy. Rub through a tamis and if desired, add more cream and butter. Spread the tuna mixture on the edge of the plate and put the potato puree in the centre. Carve the rump and place two slices on the puree. Garnish with the purple potato crisps, sauce and sprinkle with caper powder.
900g veal rump, vegetable oil, 25g butter, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs thyme, olive oil, veal jus.
For the tuna
250g Ortiz tuna (tuna belly in oil), 50g Parmesan powder, 30g sherry vinegar, 2 gelatin leaves, 10g candied lemon, 50g cream.
For the garnish
25g dried caper powder, purple potato crisps (Vitelotte).
For the potato puree
500g Pompadour potatoes, 500g semi-salted butter, 100ml cream, coarse sea salt.