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WT*(Heck?) is Pernod?

By Executive Chef Sean Dunn

Hey everyone! My manager tells me at least three people in Groveland read my last article, so she is letting me write another one! So, lets get back to my thoughts, shall we?

I think when many of us think of Valentine’s Day we think of cards, expensive flowers and chocolate. I immediately think of food for two very solid reasons: 1) we chefs plan extravagant and decadent meals for anyone brave enough to venture out on this day/night and B) it is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants only surpassed (barely) by Mother’s Day.

In the past 20+ years of being in kitchens I have found this special occasion is my opportunity, as the executive chef, to demonstrate what my team can do with some amazing product that we don’t use all year. Why don’t we use them all year you ask? Because beef tenderloin (filet mignon) is $30-45 a pound! And jumbo prawns are $40-60 a pound, so when we show off, we want to make sure that whatever we put on the plate is worth every penny you spend. Looking around Groveland I don’t see a lot of Jumbo Prawns, so this is a special treat. And that is precisely why you need Pernod cream sauce over your Prawns.

Now to the title of the article WT* is Pernod cream sauce and WHY must I have it on my prawns? Direct answer is simple, Crab. Yup, Crab!

Jumbo prawns are great and all with a little clarified butter, but you start stuffing those beautiful crustaceans with lump crab meat, shallots, garlic and a bit of brie and well…now you’re showing off. But I am plating them over braised cardoon.

Cardoon is a wonderful vegetable found mostly in Italy and the best way to describe its texture and taste is a cross between an Artichoke and Celery. You peel it like celery, removing the stringy ribs and once it is cooked it has the texture and flavor of an Artichoke heart. If I were to serve this plate as is, I am confident that those of you order it would be happy as can be, but this is Valentine’s Day, you are not leaving my restaurant with plain old shrimp.

So, WT*(Heck?) is Pernod cream sauce, Sean! We want to know!

Pernod is an Anise based liquor from France, like Absinth but not as high in alcohol.

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