Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Fools: An Indulgent Chef's Table Tasting

Plate design sketches for the May Chef's Table event at the Whist Club

Certainly one of the most enjoyable parts of crafting a seasonal menu is the exclusivity of it all.  Having bragging rights about the first-of-the-season anything makes a nine-course, seasonal menu tasting even more exclusive.  As we continue into the warmer weather, some of the region's best known (and beloved) ingredients show up on the plate.  With more exotic ingredients, we explore more uncommon grape varietals, like marsanne and gewurztraminer.  Classic blends with a twist were featured, like the Schramsberg Cellars Blanc de Noirs- an almost 80-20% blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, and Bonny Doon's Chateauneuf du Pape blend, Le Cigare Volant provided unimaginable depth to the flavors we aimed to coax from the ingredients.  And, so it went something like this...

The Chef’s Table
at the
University and Whist Club
Of Wilmington
May 19, 2011

Grilled Octopus Escab├Ęche
Chive Blossom Tempura
Schramsberg, Blanc de Noirs, California, 2007

Tempura Fried Chive Blossoms with Rice Wine Dipping Sauce
Braised Octopus Escabeche: in the style of Spain

Amuse Bouche
Mission fig, Foie Gras curls and Blackberry-Balsamic Caviar
First of the Season Mission Figs via California

Figs and Foie, yes; but blackberry balsamic caviar?  Oh yeah.

Friend and Florist Dominique Ho of Le Sentier provided the quintessential May bouquet of Peonies

First Course
Lobster Carpaccio
cape gooseberries, young herbs, nori and persimmon vinaigrette
Navarro Vineyards, Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley, California, 2008
A lobster "carpaccio" with cape gooseberry, citrus herb mix, persimmon vinegar

One of my favorite pairings of the night, the Navarro Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer with the Lobster Carpaccio

Second Course
Softshell Crab
spicy almond flour, melon and sorrel
Qupe, Marsanne, Santa Ynez Valley, California, 2009

Another season first: Softshell Crabs awaiting their fate

Almond flour dredged softshell with melon, young sprout salad and sorrel puree

Peach-Ginger Granita
A clean, refreshing Peach and Ginger Granita- a taste of May!

Smoked Moulard Duck Breast
oxtail ravioli and porcini, dried cherry jus
Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Volant, Santa Cruz, 2006

Sous Chef Andrew Ramage makes the pasta for the oxtail ravioli just hours before the dinner.

The completed dish: house smoked moulard duck breast with oxtail ravioli, porcini and sour cherry jus

Delices de Bourgogne, pistachio, truffle honey
Chateau Cantenac-Brown, Margaux, 2003
The sensual Delices de Bourgogne with truffle infused honey, toasted pistachio and feuilles de brick

Berry-Almond Shortcake
Vanilla cream and thai Basil
Fresh berries in basil oil, almond biscuit and vanilla clotted cream

Nougat, Gianduja Chocolate, Strawberry and Coffee
Caposaldo, Prosecco
Chewy nougat, strawberry-coconut confection, espresso bon-bon and gianduja chocolate square with pine nut

Beautiful chive blossoms; lovely to look at, delicious to eat.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Robert, congrats on this wonderful looking meal. I can't wait to try one out for the first time!


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