Pursuit of Food First Dinner part 2

Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.

-Frank Sinatra  

(there would have been more pictures from the dinner, but blame the alcohol!)

Otherwise, here’s a few pictures from the dinner, with a few thoughts that pinballed through my noggen somewhere between the self-brewed 10% alcohol caramel lager and the Chateau Montelena Cabernets, the Brunello di Montelpuciano for the wild boar dishes…and, well the rest of the night was a blur.  Just kidding, I really took care to make sure the food was at least…passable.

I didn’t really have a calculated thought process to the meal/menu planning, and even to the last second I was revising it, though I knew I wanted to serve mainly only proteins that were caught, and use that as the foundation of the meal.  And then tinker a little bit with contrasts/similarities.  But the food is very basic, and the stellar ingredients called for that, because we’re trying to highlight the protein, not mask it and attempt to show you how “smart” we are.  

I like to start my meals off simple with the freshest Kumamoto Oysters.  Some restaurants like to shuck, then use a little brush to scrape the shell – it’s a terrible technique.  Instructions: Strain the juice, wash the shell/oyster, pour juices back in shell, chill on ice to release more juices, cocktail, lemon, dash tabasco. paired with Muscadet wine/France.  When you’re done with that, open some Champagne for celebration.

I purchased a few new plates at the Japanese market in Downtown LA, and wanted to use them as a vehicle for transporting a half raw, half cooked dish.  Before dinner started, I tried salt-crusting the shrimp and baking it in the oven, but the salt (Kosher/Diamond Crystal) ended up seeping into the meat and making it too salty.  I think it’s much better done with extremely coarse sea-salt like they do the Branzino at Angelini Osteria.  Served w/ mache & fennel salad with a little lemon, Fleur de sel, and wasabi mayonnaise on the side.  Grilled head.

Pairing cured & fresh (Jamón Ibérico Bellota + Tuna Belly Tartare). Usually tartare is mashed but the texture of the belly was so nice that it would be a pity to make it a paste – it was just cubed and rolled into the Jamon Iberico cigars.  The front of the plate is a seared yellowfin belly with these beautifully delicate baby tunas sauteed in garlic, parlsey, chili flakes.  A great present from Ori who recently went to Spain.

The fish Velouté was made from two types of fish bones: Sheepshead & Sargo, which are nice white fish found off our California Coast.  The base was fennel and leeks, strained, then shallots cooked in butter, deglazed with Vermouth and Chardonnay, reduced, then added Strauss Heavy Cream.  The sargo (pictured was seared for a crispy skin), and the sheepshead (underneath the broth) was poached in the broth.  

Seppia di Nero Spaghetti (Squid Ink spaghetti) w/ two types of pork jowel (similar to bacon), two types of onions (red & white) + San Marzano tomatoes.  Bacon and squid = love.  Finished with Parmigianna reggiano

Wanted to kill the diners with high blood pressure so I could have the almond flour/chocolate cake dessert to myself, but damn, they’re professionals. It didn’t work.  so…combined Foie from the sea (Sea urchin), Wagyu Beef, and Bone Marrow.  3 ultra rich things.  + Chiocciole + Uni (similar to Mac).  

Drool @ ya later,

E