Dinner party

Chris and Sirkka came over with an amazing basket of treats from their garden:

and we made them into a great dinner. Micro was also in town, luckily, and it was a perfect evening. First, the rest of the puréed soup from before, enhanced with a bit of truffle oil and wild mint from the meadow. Next, seared sashimi of marlin, marinated with umeboshi paste, miso, and honey, which I threw in the pan after the fish seared to reduce it to a thick, tangy paste. This we had with a 1999 Kistler “Les Noisetiers” Chardonnay which was just beautiful.

Then, a sort of homage to smoke, in the form of three different kinds of smoked flavors on the same plate. Chicken-of-the-woods cut into matchsticks became “fries” cooked in some smoked duck fat, while maitake and shiitake caramelized wth a bit of bacon and garlic and parsley. Last some nice big scallops smoked over black lichee-flavored tea in the wok and it all went together with the last of the radish relish from the fridge, and we paired it with a 2002 Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Prieur” by Esmonin which had the requisite funk to handle the smoke, yet was light enough not to crush the delicate earth and sea flavors.

Last, we made nettle gnocchi; Sirkka and I both recently bought the Silver Spoon cookbook, and she wanted to try making them, and luckily all the rain caused all our nettles to jump up with new growth like it was spring. So I picked a bunch, and they brought the potatoes, and we had the gnocchi with sage butter and parmesan. Chris made chard, and radicchio salad. Awesome, and even better with a 1998 Brusquières Châteauneuf and then, best of all, a 1996 Remirez de Ganuza Riserva which had us all in awe.

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