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Heiko Nieder

Heiko Nieder

The Restaurant at the Dolder Grand, Switzerland
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For well over a decade, Chef Heiko Nieder has been at The Restaurant of the Dolder Grand in Zurich. Earlier in his career, Chef Nieder trained under Chef Michael Hoffmann, who instilled in him a passion for the craft and a positive energy that permeates his kitchen to this day. The German native likes to shake things up, often using surprising ingredients and twists on traditional recipes. A few years ago, he launched the Epicure Culinary Festival, an annual event where Chefs and food lovers can share and discover new techniques and recipes.

A talk with Heiko Nieder

Can you tell us about your journey as a Chef?
I would have to say there are two people who really made me love the job. Firstly, my grandmother who was also a Chef, but not like me. At the end of her career, she worked in the kitchen of a big butchering company in Hamburg. Sometimes when my kindergarten was closed, I would spend the day with her, and she would bring me to her canteen. It was great to walk through the stainless-steel kitchen and revel in the different smells – the butchers preparing sausages and, on the other side, the stocks and stews bubbling. Thanks to her, I chose this profession.
Later, it was Michael Hoffmann who made me a Chef and taught me that if you enjoy what you do, you bring happiness to yourself and your guests. Being a Chef means you spend hour upon hour in the kitchen and I am grateful to him for making me love it. To me, cooking is not just a profession, it is my hobby. Through our craft, we, Chefs, take care of one of our most important needs in the world. What more could you ask for?
Can you tell us your favourite ways to cook the onion?
I love to cook with onions because they are the silent stars in the kitchen and if you take the time, you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. In my dish for this book, I braised the onions for 6-10 hours depending on their size. If you were to cook meat for this long, it would lose its consistency and become unpleasant, but the onion’s taste only gets better.
Do you recall your first glass of Krug?
I vividly recall my first glass of Krug Clos du Mesnil. It was a late sunny morning in February when we visited the House of Krug in Reims and went to the Clos du Mesnil. I knew it would not be big, but I did not expect to see such a tiny vineyard in such a small village. As soon as we arrived, we heard clocks chiming and someone said, “It’s Clos du Mesnil o’clock.” Behind the House there was a clock and a waiter ready to serve Krug Clos du Mesnil. Tasting such a Champagne as we walked through this historic vineyard, I remember proclaiming, “this is a drink from heaven.” I will never forget the atmosphere in the vineyard when I tasted this extraordinary Champagne.
Can you tell us about a memorable champagne pairing you have enjoyed?
This would have to be at our Krug Chalet where I created a special cheese fondue, which is not something I would normally do but ended up being a thoroughly delicious food marriage. As a German, my idea for a twist on Swiss fondue was a little unconventional. While classic fondue will involve potatoes, bread and bacon or ham, in my recipe I added a little spice with chorizo, Spanish blood sausage, green olives and anchovies. Together with Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé, everything was beautifully complemented and, most of all, the guests were happy.
For whom would you prepare your dream Krug pairing?
Joseph Krug. We could share the perfect match of Krug and food. I am not sure what I would cook for him, maybe one, two – or ten – special dishes for the different Krug Champagnes. Over dinner, I would like to discuss the creation process and how he had the idea to craft such a fine Champagne each year, blending wines from different plots and years. What strikes me as interesting is that when I mix flavours in the kitchen, I can see the result immediately. I would like to ask Joseph Krug how he was able to imagine the Champagne’s evolution when he began to create the most generous expression of Champagne every year.

Braised onion with duck liver essence, mango and mustard

Braised onion with duck liver essence, mango and mustard

  • STARTER
    2 servings
  • timing
    30 minutes
  • preparation time
    2 days
  • Cooking time
    6-8 hours

INGREDIENTS

STEP 1.

40 g cane sugar, 50 g butter

4 onions, white, cut in half

100 ml malt vinegar

1 cinnamon stick (15 g)

5 g thyme, 5 g rosemary

400 ml poultry stock

STEP 2.

160 g braising stock from onions

7,5 g vegetarian gelatin, 1,5 g agar agar

STEP 3.

150 g brioche

15 g concentrated butter, 10 g butter

STEP 4.

3 l poultry stock

0,5 kg duck meat from the haunch, rough pieces

0,5 kg duck liver, 300 ml egg white

120 ml Chardonnay wine

1 g coriander seeds, 0,6 g pimento

1 clove, 1 small bay leaf

25 g kombu seaweed

20 ml white soy sauce

40 ml mirin, 40 ml sake

500 g ice cubes

STEP 5.

250 ml water, 125 ml rice vinegar

5 g sugar, 5 g salt, 1 bay leaf

50 g mustard seeds (light)

50 g mustard seeds (dark)

STEP 6.

200 g duck liver, 1,65 g nitrite salt

150 ml Brandy, 100 ml port wine, white

80 ml Noilly Prat

125 ml poultry stock (reduced to 80 ml)

6 egg yolks, 50 g panko

180 g duck liver, cured

PM Himalayan salt, PM sugar

PM lime juice to taste

STEP 7.

100 g Italian parsley

200 ml vegetable oil

STEP 8.

150 g mango pulp

50 g gelling sugar 3:1

20 g light miso paste

10 g lime juice, 5 g mango vinegar

Himalayan salt

15 g Dijon mustard, grainy

1 bay leaf, 0,05 g quatre épices

STEP 9.

1 white onion

110 g flour, 500 ml vegetable oil

PM Himalayan salt

PM Maldon sea salt

STEP 10.

12 mango cubes (1 cm edge length)

2 petals mustard cress

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT

STEP 1. BRAISED ONION

Caramelise cane sugar together with butter in a small pan, deglaze with malt vinegar. Settle halved onions with the cutting surface on top of the caramel. Add remaining ingredients. Cover up and braise for 6-8 hours at 160°C in the oven. Frost onions every now and then with the evolving stock. Subsequently, remove braised onions from stock, peel off the outer layers and strain stock again on top of the onions.

 

STEP 2. BRAISED ONION JELLY

Mix ingredients all together, boil up at a good pace and pour evenly on a flat and straight panel.

 

STEP 3. BRIOCHE CHIP

Slice brioche thinly, a little larger at the surface of the braised onion in a round shape. Fry slices in concentrated and fresh butter until achieving a golden yellow colour and degrease on a paper towel, keeping them in a warm place.

 

STEP 4. DUCK LIVER ESSENCE

Mix all ingredients, cover up and chill for 12 hours. Fill clarifying base in a suitable kettle and boil up while continuously stirring with a long spatula on the bottom of the kettle until clarifying cake bursts open. Let essence simmer for approximately 1 hour. Subsequently, strain the essence through a very fine sieve and slightly wet filter. After the liquid has cooled down, fill in a high vase and chill for 12 hours. Then thoroughly remove the leftover fat of the duck liver.

 

STEP 5. MUSTARD SEEDS, PICKLED

Boil all ingredients together, place in a jar and let rest for at least 24 hours.

 

STEP 6. DUCK LIVER CRÈME

Skim duck liver at room temperature through a coarse strainer to remove silberhaut and veins. Blend strained duck liver with nitrite salt, cover it and let it cure for 24 hours. Mix alcohol components and reduce to 40 ml, mix together with poultry stock, egg yolks and Panko in a Thermomix at 65°C for 13 min. Let the mixture rest for 2 hours. Add duck liver and mix, season with salt, sugar and lime juice. Skim through fine strainer. Put mixture into a piping bag and chill.

 

STEP 7. PARSLEY OIL

Put ingredients all together in a Thermomix and mix up to 80°C. Blend mixture, put into a disposable piping bag and hang up to separate oil from liquids. Let settled liquid drain off through a small hole in the piping bag. Fill herb oil into a vessel and chill until needed.

 

STEP 8. MANGO MUSTARD

Cut mango pulp and mix with gelling sugar, miso paste, lime juice and mango vinegar. Cover up and chill for 6 hours. Subsequently, bring to boil while whisking, mix shortly and add remaining ingredients.

 

STEP 9. ROASTED ONION

Slice onion into thin rings with the aid of a cutting machine. Part thin rings, pat dry with a paper towel and dust with flour using a strainer. Fry at 140°C until colour turns into a golden yellow, salt lightly and degrease on a paper towel, keeping in a warm place.

 

STEP 10. ARRANGING

Heat four onion halves carefully in a little bit of braising stock, frost repeatedly and arrange in the middle of a hollow plate. Excel braised onion jelly at the same size as the brioche chips and place on the chips. Garnish with jelly containing the mango cubes, a couple dots of mango mustard, duck liver creme and preserved mustard seeds. Top up with roasted onions and mustard cress. Heat essence, fill into suitable ladler, add a bit of parsley oil and pour into the plate when serving the guest at the table.

 

SERVING INSTRUCTIONS

Dress your plate and delicately pour the parsley oil to make little decorative dots.

Pairing notes
The variety of flavours in this dish – brioche, brown sugar, fruit, spices and the elegant duck liver essence – make it a delectable match for Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition. The melange on the palate creates a new flavour that plays in harmony with this Champagne.
Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition

The Most Generous Expression of Champagne

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