Friday, June 16, 2006

Rainy dinner

Kris and Ken came over and I tried to do justice to the time I had at their place last month. It was raining, so we ate inside, and I tried to make things that straddled rainy-day comfort food and spring freshness. We started with seared scallops, shiitake, endive, leeks, and fiddleheads in a simple pan sauce. We had a Sine Qua Non Albino which was delightful with the caramelized winter vegetables and the sweetness of the sauce.

Then smoked duck breast on blanched yellow beets with a yellow beet juice/turmeric/ginger/saffron sauce and a croquette of brown rice and hijiki with some steamed lamb's quarters. No picture f this one, but it was pretty. The rain threw the smoking off a bit by pulling too much heat from the chamber; a bigger fire would have made it perfect. This we enjoyed with a 1999 Domaine de la Mordorée Cuvée de la Reine des Bois, which was much better the next day; it needed more time.

Then, braised lamb shoulder with a coulis of pea shoots and fresh green peas, done my usual way; it could have been deeper but since it's different every time this comes with the territory. We ate it with a 1998 Beaucastel which really jumped out of the glass and tasted more like Barolo than Rhône.

Last, an Epoisse and a Robiola, both very ripe but the Robiola sweet and creamy against the profound feet funk of the other. These we enjoyed with their bottle of 1989 Cuvée du Papet, which proved definitively the value of a good cellar over time. The young wine we mostly have can never go to the places these older ones get to after 15 years or so- so always leave a few for later.

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