One one level, this was a pretty straightforward meal: local ribeyes, a gratin, polenta, and mushrooms. On another level, though, it was, well, on a whole other level. The polenta was leftover from a few nights before, and thoroughly congealed–as is the wont of polenta. I brought it back to a pleasing pourability by whisking in some homemade beef stock, local butter, and lots of pepper. The maitake mushrooms got a long, slow sear until they were richly browned, and then I deglazed the pan with the umami-boosting blend of soy sauce, sake, and beef stock, letting them simmer a bit in the liquid to reduce it. The gratin is the first draft of an idea I had last week while out for a walk with the family (there’s nothing like a good walk for getting one’s think on). It was thinly sliced turnip alternated with mandolined ribbons of fennel and leek, and baked in buttermilk with good local cheese on top. I broiled it for a few minutes at the end uncovered to get a good brown on the cheese and evaporate a bit of the liquid.
The steaks–seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence–got the now-standard sear in butter and finish with grated lardo. Whether or not I have the time or inclination to sous-vide a steak, this treatment is hard to beat. When the new stove arrives, I’m anticipating a whole new world of searing; losing this easy-bake™ piece of shit cooktop will be among the highlights of my life. In the meantime, we make do. The little extra care with each component really made this into a satisfying plate of food. To drink, a 2007 Domaine des Vallettes Borgueil. Not expensive, and a delightful Cab Franc after about an hour in the decanter.
Posting is going to be erratic for the next few weeks as I wrestle with the kitchen, but I’ll get to it when I can. (I’ll take lots of pictures of the takeout food I eat while the family is in Florida and I have no functioning appliances.)