Antoine Mansuy and his wife Maisy and son Gaston are considered community pillars in Yizhuang, Daxing in southern Beijing because of the warm feel of their restaurants. The Roots, known for sourcing local quality vegetables and making European home cooked food, started with a small location in the middle of the suburb then expanded with a larger location in the area’s Sam’s shopping mall. Antoine helped form a resource group for expats in Yizhuang and uses his restaurant as a hub for food items internationals miss, including potted herbs, honey, cheese, and wine. The expat community is relatively small in Yizhuang, but every-one knows Antoine and The Roots, by far the most popular date-night-choice in the area.
Passionate and humble about the food, he always goes around to each customer’s table to ask, “How was your food today?” Thus, he has won over the hearts of many customers, both Chinese and foreign. Though little Gaston couldn’t join in the cooking, we couldn’t pass up the chance to honor his dad for his contribution to the community. Mansuy chose a dish that was easy to accomplish using home equipment, but explosive in flavor. He picked four elements for the dish that complement one another, bringing dimensions of sour, sweet, fatty, and salty.
• Perch fillet
needs olive oil, pepper, fennel, lemon juice, thyme
• Brown grains (邏찝)
yolk of an egg, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, oil, herbs
• 2 bell peppers, red and yellow best
1 – Prep work: marinate the fillet in fennel, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and quality olive oil a couple of hours before you make the meal. “Fish is a fragile meat and you can’t afford to let it sit for long,” Mansuy said.
2 – After you make the grains, mayonnaise, and peppers, put oil in the skillet on medium to hot temperature. Put skin down first, three to four minutes until the whiteness starts to climb along the fillet, then flip. Once cooked, plate with the rest of the ingredients.
Brown Grains (燕麦)
Boil grains in water and butter for 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Add season and pepper to taste when finished.
1 – Wash peppers, dry, then place directly on an open flame. Rotate every few minutes. Roast for a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
2 – Wrap the blackened peppers in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to let the steam loosen the skin. Once cooled, wash the peppers in water to take off the blackened skin.
3 – Cut out parts not wanted, chop the peppers, then place on the plate.
1 – Crack open an egg and throw out the white, mix with Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon oil.
2 – Slowly pour in olive oil (or sunflower seed oil) and mix in one direction. Too much oil will throw off the emulsion.
3 – Add herbs and plate the dish.
Photos by Dave’s Studio
This is an updated version of the article that originally appeared on p. 22-23 of beijingkids March Issue. Download the digital copy here.