Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chef's Table

Here are some photos from a Chef's Table dinner back in early July. This menu is a celebration of the new produce that arrived this week: beets, new potatoes, napa cabbage, cavolo nero, cauliflower, pluots, and peaches.

Chłodnik. It's hot, it's beet season, and there are some dill pickles from last season to be used. Time for this lovely Polish take on cold beet soup.

Early Summer Vegetable Plate. It was still too early for peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes—that glorious summer trio—when we did this dinner. So we made do with summer squash and green tomatoes. Here you see a miniature squash cake, a fried green tomato, and pesto goat cheese truffle, all garnished with various little bits from the plants on our deck.

Arctic Char. This dish isn't so much about the char as what the char is sitting on: a smoked bluefish new potato salad. This was an exercise in using the first new potatoes of the year. The char is notable really only for the way that it is cooked: skin side down on the grill until it reaches medium rare. The heat stays on the fatty skin side and yields a very delicate product.

Pork Confit on Kimchee. This dish is all about using the first napa cabbage of the year. I did a quick overnight kimchee pickle on it so that it was still fairly crunchy. We topped it with shreds of our latest batch of pork confit.

Grilled Lamb Loin and Cavolo Nero Packet. How fortunate for us that we got the first delivery of the season of cauliflower and cavolo nero on the same day that we received a new lamb. Here then is a piece of top loin (the New York strip if you will) wrapped in cavolo nero and grilled along with a cauliflower purée, red wine-lamb stock reduction, and chanterelle mushrooms.

Peach, Pluot, and French Toast Napoleon. Peaches and pluots just hit the market the week of this tasting and so it was a no-brainer that they were going to feature in dessert. The napoleon is sitting in a pool of cherry soup, made from the very last of the cherries from this season.

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