The Menu is still driving discourse as awards season heats up and more and more people watch it on streaming. We’ve certainly had our fair share of opinions about what it all means, whether paying $1,200 for a tasting menu is a good price or not, and all the chef-y references throughout. I even cooked the infamous cheeseburger from the film.
But there was another dish that intrigued me. I kept thinking about “Tyler’s Bullshit.”
(Before we dive in any further — this post contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.)
The pivotal dish that Nicholas Hoult’s dipshit character, Tyler, makes is a symbol of how fanboy narcissism (the dude can’t stop taking pictures of dishes) “drains the magic out of cooking” (chef Slowik’s words) while providing exactly zero real hands-on knowledge about the subject at all. Tyler is tasked by the mad chef with cooking something from scratch to prove he deserves to be part of the club (or cult, if you want to get technical). Slowik doesn’t ask for a masterpiece just a simple, good plate of food. After all, he’s in a kitchen that has “everything” so, surely, Tyler can whip something up to prove he’s more than just a blustering fanboy?
Surely over all those years of “loving” food, he’s learned something tangible?
Nope. Not a thing. Tyler’s dish is an utter failure on every level from inception to mise en place — “Look everyone, Tyler’s teaching us an undiscovered form of chopping,” Slowik says, his voice dripping with contempt — to his execution.
“Tyler’s Bullshit” ends up being an inedible dish of undercooked, un-seared lamb chops in a leek butter sauce (that’s burnt) with shallots.
Seeing it led me to ask — could Tyler have made a good dish out of those exact same ingredients? I mean… lamb chops, salt, butter, leeks, and shallots? Nothing terrible or incongruent, right? All of the elements are there. Tyler is just so inadequate in the kitchen that he’d never have found a cohesive dish in a million years.
I’m not going to spoil what happens to Tyler because it’s worth watching fresh, so let’s focus on the food. I’m going to take lamb chops, butter, shallots, and leek and try making a perfectly edible dish with that. I’m not going to dawdle — this whole dish takes about 15 to 20 minutes from the first chop to service, it’s not hard and you can do it at home. As you’ll see, I don’t go crazy with the plating, either. Lamb chops with leeks in a butter sauce is simple, good food.
All Chef Slowik wanted was a serviceable plate of food from Tyler (under the obvious threat of death) — so that’s what I’m shooting for.
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I’m searing the lamb and placing it under a broiler for a minute with butter while I sear off leek sticks. While the lamb and leeks are resting, I’m going to make a fast quasi-beurre blanc as a pan sauce with the shallots and a ton of butter. That’s really it.
- 2 Lamb chops
- 1 Leek (white with a bit of green), quartered along the vertical
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter (chilled)
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup white wine***
This is all easy to find at most supermarkets. There’s nothing fancy here really.
*I have to use something to de-glaze the pan after searing the meat and leeks. I would use water but Tyler was literally offered everything he could ever need to make this dish, so one substitution for form isn’t the end of the world in my opinion. The end result is still a “butter sauce” as described in the film.
What You’ll Need:
- Stainless pan, seasoned
- Kitchen Knife
- Cutting boards
- Small pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- Baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 200-degrees. In the meantime, season the lamb chops liberally with Kosher salt, slice your leeks, mince the shallot, and cube the butter. Now, your mise en place is ready. Slowik would be proud.
- Heat the pan on high heat. Add a glug of olive oil and let heat until it just starts to spit small lines of smoke. Gently lay the lamb chops in the pan and sear until a layer forms on the bottom about 90 seconds. Turn over and sear the other side for about 30 seconds, just until some color gets into them. Place the chops in the baking dish, add a piece of butter to each chop right on the meat, and put it in the oven.
- In the meantime, lay the leeks cut side down and sear off both cut sides and the bottom, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove the leeks from the pan and place them on a wooden cutting board to rest, the cut side down so the outer layer of the leek acts as a blanket to steam the onion inside.
- Remove the lamb chops from the oven and place them on the cutting board to rest too, making sure to keep as much of the melted butter on the meat as possible. Put a serving plate into the oven.
- Lower the pan heat to medium and add the minced shallot and move around until it starts to get translucent — about a minute. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan by getting all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and into the shallots and wine. Simmer for about 2 or 3 minutes until the white is 1/2 gone. Start adding the chilled butter one cube at a time and whisk constantly. Do this with an entire stick of butter cubes. Whisk. Repeat. If you keep working the butter in slowly, a sauce will form that’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the pan sauce to a small pot via the sieve to remove any bits and the shallots, making sure to push all the juices out of the solids and into the pot. Do not overheat this pot or the sauce will separate.
- Fetch the serving plate from the oven. Spoon some of the sauce onto the bottom to make a single layer. Place the leeks, cut side up, on the plate and hit with a dash of extra virgin olive oil and finishing salt. Place the lamb chops on the plate and dab with the butter pan sauce and hit with a crank of black pepper. Serve.
So, how’d I do?
From my perspective, this was a great lunch. The lamb was a nice medium-rare, perfectly seasoned, and was so good with the butter pan sauce that I was almost licking the bowl clean. The leeks were soft and sweet with a hint of sharpness. I cooked them in a rustic style you see in southern Italy and France where the heart of the leek is cooked sort of inside the outer layers once intense heat is applied and the left to self-steam, keeping the flavors amped up high.
You’re left with some greens on the plate but who cares when they’re this good. In short, the leeks balanced out the rich butter pan sauce and meaty lamb perfectly. That’s a good bite right there.
Plus, you can see that while my presentation is simple (I was making lunch at home, not serving one of the world’s best chefs), this dish still looked about a billion times more appetizing than the plate above.
Right, chef? Right???