March Menu 2012

Oyster risotto

Oyster risotto

I was trying to think of a starter that was reasonably filling and could accompany Chablis… Arborio rice (naturally) stirred endlessly while vegetable and shellfish stocks and white wine are continually added and reduced. Then, for the last few tens of seconds, along with the traditional addition of butter, oysters are also added and semi-poached. The resulting texture was better than hoped for: creamy risotto rice with a central bite and appropriately rounded stock-base flavours, with occassion hits of creamy rock-pool oyster flavour.

The Chablis in question was the Seguinot-Bordet Vaudesir 2009. A rather ripe nosed (nectarine and next to no minerality) wine, though the palate combined a delicious tingling acidity on entry with a round (yet in no way fat) texture and a long river pebble-mineral finish. It worked well with the oyster risotto. Interestingly, the particular Arborio used here was quite aromatically “grainy” (smelling like raw wheat grain), which worked surprisingly well with the Chablis as a flavour contrast.

Salad of greens, young goat cheese, crutons and walnuts

Greens, goat cheese, crutons, walnuts

A simple, light and delicious salad with a very light dressing of about 20/80 grapeseed oil/sushi vinegar.

Mushrooms en papillote

Mushrooms en papillote

Surprises are a nice experience for the diner and are perhaps too often reserved for desserts. Here, the diner is presented with a warm paper package where, upon opening, they are greeted with a waft of earthy baked mushroom, herb and vinous aromas. A very simple yet immensely satisfying dish showcasing a variety of mushrooms, baked en papillote with butter, white wine, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and a touch of pepper.

Pierre Amiot‘s Morey St Denis is particularly good for village-level red Burgundy. The 2009 was showing wild raspberry and cherry aromas along with a floral aspect (like pink dog rose) without being volatile in any way. It was like the summer’s bounty of fruit in Northern Europe, with a touch of tree fungus/meat/and ultra-subtle wood. The palate was beautifully textured (damusc-velvet was mentioned), with a sweet-sour cherry flavour that sweetened a little in the finish. With the mushrooms en papillote, this was a complimentary match that was more about textural companionship than elevation or contrast of flavour. The wine also worked reasonably well with the following dish.

Roast quail and figs, jus

Roast quail and figs, jus

Figs and quail roasted en papillote to retain moisture, with a little red wine and dry Sherry. Red wine and quail stock jus.

Quail stock

And a quality (unusually meat-heavy flavoured) stock makes all the difference.

Strawberry and white chocolate mousse

Strawberry and white chocolate mousse

A layered mousse, with the white chocolate component being whipped cream folded into a (low temperature) pâte à bombe that has had white chocolate melted into it. The strawberry component is whipped cream folded into a mixture of whipped egg white and sugar, and gelatin-set fresh strawberry juice. The twist is that the cream used for the strawberry component has been infused with both rose water and (to add complexity) actual rose petals – but subtley so, such that the diner cannot quite detect the addition element and it adds a degree of intrigue. I was quite pleased with the concept.

The candles burned late into the night…

This entry was posted in Cheese, Chocolate, Dessert, Fig, Lettuce, Menu, Mushroom, Nuts, Rice, Shellfish, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.