Smoke ’em If You Got ’em

February 28, 2016

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It was our turn again for Can’t Talk, Eating, our quarterly dining club. Due to the host rotation this was our first winter meal, so we planned on heartier fare. We settled on a theme of “smoke” for all the courses, in both obvious and subtle presentations.

Charcuterie

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Baguette, fig and butter spread, Serrano ham, brie.

Lamberti prosecco

Penicillin

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Lemon, ginger, honeycomb, lapsang souchong tea, Laphroaig and Johnnie Walker Black whiskys.

This cocktail was infused in Portholes, which are used at Aviary in Chicago (next door to Next).

Cauliflower

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Cauliflower soup with bacon and scallions.

Scallop, Dill

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Smoked scallop crudo with meyer lemon salt, dill crème frâiche, rice cracker.

2012 Peer Lauer Riesling “Stirn”

Haggis

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Oat-crusted haggis, pommes purée, hakurei turnips in brown butter, lamb reduction.

Ardbeg Supernova whisky

This is a more refined version of the traditional Burns Night meal.

Duck, Fennel

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Spice-brined, seared, and glazed duck breast, smoked duck hearts, smoked fennel confit, duck reduction.

Ravenswood 2008 Icon “Mixed Blacks”

This recipe can be found in Heston Blumenthal’s Historic Heston cookbook.

Currants, Cheese, Cedar

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She Who Must Be Obeyed made Eccles cakes, which we served with Lincolshire Poacher cheese and cedarwood vanilla ice cream.

Taylor Fladgate 20 year old tawny port

Prep for all the dishes was simple, with the exception of the duck, which required a week’s worth of work to get from whole birds to a cup of reduction. Our Smoking Gun also got a serious workout.

A friend, after seeing the dinner photos, commented “You seem to be working in the beige-to-ecru palette.” That’s true, but not intentional. Even though we’re living with spring weather, it’s still February, months away from the first spring vegetables. There’s only so much I’m willing to add to a plate just for the sake of some color. We’re starting our lobbying now to host the fall meal.

First composite photo by Cecilia Tan.

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