The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Last night at Market Bistro in Jericho, I had a superb cassoulet. This hearty winter dish is a specialty of the Languedoc in the South of France and consists of navy beans cooked with meat. Which meat? That depends where you are. The three traditional varieties of cassoulet each hail from a different town.
According to “Larousse Gastronomique,” the original, from Castelnaudary, features pork loin, ham leg, sausage, fresh pork rinds and, sometimes, preserved goose. Toulouse’s cassoulet is like Castelnaudary’s but also with fresh lard, Toulouse sausage, mutton and duck or goose. In Carcassone, the beans are cooked with leg of mutton and, “during shooting season,” partridge.
Jericho cassoulet, apparently, is its own beast. Market Bistro’s executive chef Charles Treadwell studs his beans with slabs of garlic sausage and big chunks of lamb shoulder. This is gratinéed with parsleyed bread crumbs and then surmounted by a meltingly moist leg of duck confit. It arrives at the table in an elegant, deep, oval casserole and can easily serve two. On the regular menu, the cassoulet is $24. Last night it was also on the early-bird menu, which meant that I consumed it, an immense market salad, and an individual bread pudding for $32. (For more early-bird specials, click here.)
Cassoulet is a frequent winter special at Market Bistro. They’re serving it tonight (while it lasts) and should have more for the weekend, but call first to make sure.
Market Bistro is at 519 N. Broadway, Jericho; 516-513-1487, marketbistroli.com.