08 December 2009

The Plaza Hotel Cookbook

On October 1, 1907 the Plaza Hotel opened. Articles abounded about this architectural beauty.

The kitchen at the Plaza was over an acre, filled with giant cookers and thousands of copper pots. The first chef at the Plaza was Eugene Laperruque, who had been the chef to the Rothschilds and later the executive chef at Delmonico’s.

In 1965 there was a massive blackout up and down the East Coast wreaking havoc with restaurants in New York, but not The Plaza. The gas stoves continued working, candles were lit and service continued as diners sat in the darkness eating roast beef, hot rolls and soufflés but no ice cream.

In 1972 Eve Brown collected the various recipes that made dining at The Plaza famous. In The Plaza Hotel Cookbook, along with simple recipes, Brown has provided several menus from events held at the Plaza.

When I was a kid, I love pear salad. A canned pear half on a lettuce leaf with a spoon of mayonnaise and some grated cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. I thought it to be quite charming. Here is the proper way to make such s salad.

Pear Coronation Salad
A Plaza Favorite

1 large ripe pear (Bosc or Bartlett)
Lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
1/3 cup whipped cream
Leaf or Boston lettuce
2 tablespoons Bar-le-duc

Halve, core and peel pear. Sprinkle pear halves with lemon juice.

Combine crumbled cheese and 2 tablespoons whipped cream to make a mixture of molding consistency. Fill the pear cavity with mixture and press halves together to restore whole pear shape.

Place pear on a salad plate lined with leaf or Boston lettuce.

Fold Bar-le-duc into the remaining whipped cream and spoon over salad.

This delicious salad is something to write home about.

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