Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Bounty Chef's Tasting

Here are photos from a recent Chef's Tasting, inspired by the produce that we found at the farmers market.

Patata a la Flamenca. A new potato stuffed with shrimp, chorizo, and red pepper. Pimentón sauce on the plate. Conceived as a way to use the fabulous new potatoes and a really cool flattened, thick-fleshed cheese pimiento pepper.

Scallop and Watermelon Seviche. We have a watermelon in house so we can pickle the rind and we had to have a way to use the flesh. This is a start.

Summer Salad. How to showcase fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella without doing the same old insalata caprese? We let the bowls shape the warm mozzarella into disks, marinated them in a pesto made from lemon verbena, and then built the salad on top of the mozzarella. Garnished with cherry and pear tomatoes, fresh corn, tomato dice, and sliced West Indian gherkins.

Arctic Char. We went round and round on what to do with the char. I love char (and any of the salmonids, really) with fresh tomato. I won the argument. Hmm, I sign the paychecks. Any correlation? And once more with the gorgeous new potatoes, because they are new but once a year. Some really garlicky aïoli and a little dill to finish the dish.

Red-Cooked Lamb Shank. This dish could appear at any season, but we just got a lamb in with its tiny shanks just begging to be braised. Full on northern Chinese treatment, braised with soy, rice wine, brown sugar, five spice, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, green onions, and star anise. Quick fried rice for garnish. Fried rice contains chives, egg, country ham, black trumpet mushrooms, and carrots.

Plum Cake. A less is more dish. Plum soup down, half a split polenta cake topped with roasted plums, topped with the other half of the polenta cake, zabaglione, and a half a plum. This was all about showing off these wonderful round plums that taste like prune plums. The grower doesn't even know what kind of plum it is. All I know is that they taste great.

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