On Saturday, we met briefly with Gerard and Alison so they could give me a belated birthday gift since they were too sick to come to the party. So, like secret agents, we met in the AutoZone parking lot and they handed me a bag with a side of wild Alaskan salmon in it. The cloak-and-dagger locale was especially appropriate because he works at the CIA. (The food one, not the one with real spies.) I rushed home and packed the fish in my favorite salmon cure of salt, sugar, shichimi, fennel seeds, and citrus zest.
Then, Sunday morning, Sirkka called to see if we wanted to come for dinner. I mentioned that we maybe sorta had plans with G&A, and thus was a little party organized. Gerard brought some beautiful black bass, and an amazing panzanella of spelt bread, roasted beets, pomegranate, mushrooms, butternut squash, and arugula. Sirkka picked and made greens with bonito and leeks. I had pressure-cooked black radishes with dashi to bring, and since the bass was not by itself going to be enough fish for eight I cut a hunk off the half-cured salmon. Once we were close to eating, I broiled it with pine needles. The bass also got broiled, with a nice marinade.
Some pics of the feast:
The radishes in dashi
The salmon, pre-broil...
I love meals like this. Everything was delicious, and harmonized beautifully with everything else. The wines were good; I brought a Cava Avinyó to begin with some bubbles, then a 2006 Jacky Blot Vouvray "Les Carburoches" to help us cook (I must say that while it's good, it's a little tight, and has nothing on his Clos de la Bretonnière, which is rotund and delicious) and last, to eat with, a 2000 Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco "Rabajà" which really started to get going around the last glass, since I forgot to decant it. The other bottles of this that I still have will make for some tasty treats down the road. Sirkka made a just-sweet pumpkin custard with pie spices and dried cranberries for dessert.