Sunday, January 17, 2010

Potluck

The other night I invited a bunch of friends over for a wine-potluck. Everyone brought a bottle of something to share with the group. There was no discussion beforehand of what to bring, and yet most of the major food groups were represented. Just look at this incredible meal we put together:

Several people brought appetizers. Above from left to right, we enjoyed sautéed wild mushroom toasts with lingonberries, strawberries soaked in aged Balsamic vinegar, and fresh figs stuffed with chopped almonds and bacon.

We then had several seafood courses, beginning with the above crudo of yellowtail with fava bean and preserved lemon purée.

Pike dumplings were fluffy and gorgeous, spiked with the tiniest bit of finely chopped gherkins and served with a bracingly clean cucumber salad and a dab of sour cream. These dumplings, I might add, were most generously donated by the good folks at Michael Skurnik Wines, who feel that pike dumplings should be part of any good dinner. And based on their performance at this dinner, I cannot argue at all.

We then enjoyed the classic Sole Meunière, its delicate white flesh redolent of butter and the ocean. Perhaps in this particular case, too much butter, but who's complaining?

Our final seafood course was quite memorable, some might say shocking. 18 fresh vanilla beans were added, along with the juice of 6 pineapples and 6 guavas to 4 gallons of seawater, in which several lobsters swam about, marinating so to speak, for three days. Said lobsters were then boiled in this marinade and served on a limestone platter arranged around a centerpiece of raw honeycomb. The people who brought this dish thought it would be dramatic to serve it amidst a swarm of bees. It was, in fact, dangerous eating, but entirely delicious.

Before moving onto the meat courses, we wound down with the above savory and delicious chicken noodle soup garnished with thinly sliced oyster mushrooms, and a pinch of thyme.

Our first meat course was a beauty. Two kinds of venison carpaccio: the first was smoked and topped with sea salt, the second merely raw and unadorned. The chef twice said the word "cloves" while preparing it, but didn't actually use cloves in the preparation.

Duck confit was rich and toothsome served next to thinly slices of rosy breast, served with braised turnips, daikon radish, and spaetzle.

At this point, everyone was quite stuffed. We did, however, have one final meat course which I forgot to photograph. It was the richest and bloodiest of sirloin steaks, served with buttermilk and rosemary mashed potatoes (2000 Grace Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Vincent Paris Cornas).Stuffed as we were, everyone made room for dessert - an incredibly rich, yet impossibly light tangerine and Earl Grey tea souflée. I loved it, and greedily devoured the remains the next day all by myself.

When you have a meal this good with good friends, the wine pairings become irrelevant. Trust me, we drank good wine too.

8 comments:

D J R-S said...

Irrelevant?? Jeez...you spoiled brat, you!

Frank Hagen said...

oh me oh my!

where's the tasting notes? "Irrelevant" translates to "I like to tease you". Three out of my four favourite champagne producers all at once! (you're missing roederer, thanks for asking).

Brooklynguy said...

The dishes I described ARE the tasting notes. We didn't really eat those things, we merely drank a lot of great wine. I thought it would be fun to describe each wine as if it were food.

Don't worry, my wife had no clue what i was talking about either.

Tricerapops said...

what, no seven layer dip? some potluck.

John said...

Very cool post. I was somewhat alarmed when I read the part about the lobsters and live bees, until I sat realized what was going on and started again from the beginning. I find this approach particularly timely and fresh given all the talk about tasting notes on the internets lately

D J R-S said...

You know, I half-knew what you were doing, but the dishes were so well-detailed, the sensorioumn so vivid, I was salivating with envy, live bees notwithstanding. Truly a great post. Then again, maybe I'm more of a foodie, deep inside, than a wine geek? Hmm.

saignee said...

This is a fantastic post, BG, and an excellent argument for tasting notes.

I will note is that 2004 Rolling C-M is shockingly young.

1WineDude said...

Holy smokes! That does it, I'm moving to NY so I can get in on the next one of those...