U-T San Diego Night & Day: Dish Deconstructed with Nicolas Bour
Dish Deconstructed with Nicolas Bour
By Keli Dailey
April 10 2012 | U-T San Diego Night & Day
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Part of the splendor of growing up on a farm in the Canadian Maritimes?
You’ve lived in a diverse world of fresh-laid eggs, unpasteurized milk, wild strawberries and blueberries, potatoes, corn, squash and beans.
Nicolas Bour, executive chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn for more than a year, does right by this farm-to-table heritage. He plans his California-cuisine menu according to what’s ready in the on-site organic garden. And at El Bizcocho, the resort’s AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Bour even adds farm-lover flourishes to a fish dish.
Local halibut with spring vegetables, garden blossoms and herbs
The overall dish
It’s a collaboration with Bour’s chef de cuisine Jason Roberts (from the shuttered Blanca restaurant). “We like to think of the protein as a garnish to the vegetables,” Bour says. “If you close your eyes, you’d think you were in the garden, eating, and then there’s some fish with it.”
From Baja and now in season, halibut is a definite crowd-pleaser, Bour says. “You’re not really rolling the dice when you put it on (the menu).” It’s poached in California extra virgin olive oil. For a more unusual dish, Bour directs you to El Bizcocho’s handmade squid-ink fettuccine with sea urchin and tomato
A nod to chlorophyll, the sauce pairs garden-grown, lightly smoked zucchini with fresh basil, which by itself can taste a little overpowering, Bour says. This green team gets blended, “in a Vitamix, the best blender there is. For $500, it better be.”
The baby spring vegetables
A dynamic ingredient lineup, but the veggies photographed here are carrots, squash, raw radish, raw pea shoots, snap peas, green onions and sautéed sprouted legumes. Bour, whose mother still lives in the family’s 175-year-old farm house in Canada, holds raw food in high regard. “Cooking takes a lot of the vitality out of them, like, canned vegetables aren’t good for you.”
The garden blossoms
There’s Nasturtium — “It’s a wonderful edible flower” — arugula, and radish flowers, but Bour will paint his plates with whatever grows in the garden. “It’s not like we pick and choose. If it’s edible, we put it in there. Obviously we won’t put in (poison) sumac or poison ivy.” His other produce needs are filled in by Suzie’s Farm.