Saturday, March 3, 2012

Early March Tastings

Here are photos from a series of tastings we've done this week, playing games with what we have on hand.

Salmon Tartare. There's [sc]eviche, tartare, crudo, poke and all manner of other names for raw fish dishes. I'm calling this tartare and not seviche because the citrus juice goes on seconds before the dish hits the table so that there is no discoloration/firming of the flesh. Any time that we have a fatty fish belly, you can rest assured we're making a similar dish, whether or not it appears on the menu. It makes a great chef snack. This one contains red and yellow peppers, capers, green and red onions, Meyer lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. And as an accidental metaphor for the list of ingredients, note kitchen sink in background.

Mussels with Coconut-Yuzu Sauce. Finally, some good lighting in a kitchen picture! Sure I'd love to have a reflector behind this, but the quality of light on my cutting board versus on the main plating line is much nicer. Note to self. This is mussels steamed in coconut milk with yuzu juice and the sauce finished with a touch of fish sauce, lime leaves, and sugar. Grated lime zest and green onions over.

Grilled Shrimp. This all started early in the week when a customer inspired us to create a Provençale style pasta sauce. On the plate are two tiny wedges of a duck egg frittata made with roasted red peppers and goat cheese. These are the sops for a sauce of grilled peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, caperberries, black olives, fennel fronds, and orange zest. Propped up on all this is a grilled shrimp, marinated in black olive, garlic, and orange zest paste.

Duck Salad. This dish was really an exercise in how to use a new bottle of butternut seed oil. We're experimenting with it and naturally, it crossed our minds to make a dressing from it and Meyer lemon juice. The dressing is delicious. From there it's just a matter of building a salad around the dressing: local mesclun tied with Meyer lemon rind, duck confit, duck cracklings, duck fat croutons, orange segments, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Rabbit Loin. Rabbit and fennel were made to go with each other: it's a magical combo. We've pounded out rabbit loin, dusted it with fennel pollen, and stuffed it with goat cheese mixed with fennel fronds and confit of fennel. Then it's rolled and wrapped in prosciutto, seared and finished in the oven. Purée of fennel and celery root down with a few cubes of fennel confit. We made the fennel confit in duck fat rather than olive oil.

Mushrooms and Bacon. We received a lot of brown beech, white beech, and pioppini mushrooms this week; you see them here featured with slab bacon on top of polenta. Nothing earth shattering or fancy about this, just plain old comfort food.

Teriyaki Royal Trumpet Mushrooms. In with the rest of our mushrooms this week were a few large royal trumpets, a mushroom that I like best when grilled and glazed with teriyaki sauce.

"Arancino." Here's a little play on food. When you hear arancino, you expect the deep-fried Sicilian risotto ball, perhaps stuffed with cheese or maybe even a ragù. But I doubt you expect our Northern Chinese Style pulled lamb stuffed into a fried rice ball. A little local bok choy to complete the dish.

Pork Belly. We were playing with the idea of Chinese steam buns stuffed with pork belly. But I'm not big on the texture of steamed dough, so I grilled it. There is something magical about tucking into a slab of pork belly with freshly cooked bread!

Here you see two different presentations. I'm not super happy with either presentation. The flavor was excellent, but the presentation is still lacking.

Jackfruit and Meyer Lemon Granita. This is a dish that had customers raving. The combination of the hyper-tropical flavors of the jackfruit with the lemon-orange tartness of the Meyer lemon yielded the best sorbet/granita I have ever tasted. Topped with a touch of amarena cherry mosto cotto and set on a piece of sinful coconut French toast.

Truffles. So every now and again, we make truffles. They're a fun way to end the evening. These are rolled in toasted coconut and in crushed candied walnuts. Plated with raspberry coulis and fried salted rice paper for a little texture.


  1. Ed - Both this - and the prior dinner - just look fabulous: I love how you always cook veruy different dishes with so many layers of flavors (and colors) ! So many restaurants - even good ones - change their menu so rarely - it's a joy to see one that bothers about diversity!

  2. Thank you! This is what keeps us going--trying new ingredients, new dishes, new presentations, new twists on old dishes. It keeps cooking from getting boring and makes us push ourselves in new directions constantly. And most of all, it is fun!