Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Spring Chef's Table: UWC

The latest installment (April 15, 2011) of The Chef's Table at the University and Whist Club of Wilmington was another rousing success.  As we slipped a few weeks more into the spring season, we delved a little deeper into all it has to offer.  First of the season 2010 Rose made a debut from Alexander Valley Vineyards in California, while black sea bass wiggled onto the menu, and wild boar loin with golden chanterelles and fresh fava beans took center stage.  See the full menu, with wines, below:

Reception: 2010 Alexander Valley Vineyards Rose

A colorful spring table set the tone for a beautiful evening

Plump, creamy and luscious Kumamoto oysters await dressing for the opening course.

Dainty bluebells picked from the grounds of the club to accent the final course.

Likewise, pastel-colored arrangements were assembled from local clippings by Staff Florist Dominique Ho.  Merci, Domi!

Popcorn Rockshrimp dredged in rice flour and flash-fried with Saffron Aioli

Barbecued Oxtail Ragout with Radish Slaw in Hand-Made Phyllo Cups capped off the reception

New Mexico Gruet Blanc de Blanc 2006 carried over on our theme of all American Wines with oysters.
Kumomoto oysters bathed in "mignonette" of sake, yuzu and serrano chile; served with miniature wasabi oyster crackers

Massachusetts Black Sea Bass with Celery Root and Fennel Puree, Shaved Hazelnut and Mitsuba

 Newton, Unfiltered Chardonnay, Napa 2008

Hand-Made Agnolotti filled with Duck Confit and Tallegio

The tiny pasta pillows were then waded into a broth of duck jus infused with blood orange
 Robert Sinskey, Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, 2008

Intermezzo: The Arnold Palmer.  Ceylon Tea, Lemon and Mint sorbet

Slowly roasted at low temperature, the wild boar was sublimely tender served on caramelized chanterelles with fresh favas and Knob Creek bourbon demi-glace
 Ferrari-Carano, Westface PreVail, Alexander Valley, 2005

Chef de Garde Manager Dave Stewart carefully applies truffle essence to the Cheese Course
The Rite of Spring: Warm Bucheron and Honeyed Beets with micro bulls blood greens and truffle essence

Pluot and Frangipan Tartlet with Curry-Saffron Anglaise and edible Chrysanthemums
 Graham's 30 Year Old Tawny Port

Mignardises: Date-Coconut Granola, Lemon-White Chocolate Truffle, Pine Nut and Chocolate Wafer and soft Caramel with Sea Salt

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pithy Remarks

Are you cooking yet this spring?  If so, what are you cooking?  There are several ways to take advantage of seasonal delights, and one of my favorites is infusing the many types of citrus available to us.

Meyer Lemons and Blood Oranges are among the most common citrus fruits we see in spring.  Grapefruits and pomelos also show up, as well as kumquats.  They add bright notes to a salad or fish dish, but consider them for what they are (an acid), and they're a game changer.  

Last weekend, I made an asparagus salad (just blanched) with julienne radish, shaved parmesan and shallot-citrus vinaigrette.  This is true seasonal cooking.  Just replace your vinegar with a combination of citrus juices, and use a fruity olive oil.  Fresh herbs are another way to brighten the dish.  Also, don't neglect the oil-rich rinds of these seasonal gems.  They're loaded with flavor that can be extracted, zested, infused or candied.  Or, if you're old fashioned, twist a little in your martini.


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