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I do try to avoid totally falling into ruts.  And I understand that monkfish liver isn't very healthy.  I doubt they eat it every other week even in Japan.

BUT now that I've learned that Ankimo is so easy to make when I like it so much -- it's got to have the most ridiculous effort/reward ratio (accredited mathematician @Behemoth has a term for that, but I can't remember what it is) of any dish I've ever made -- and considering that monkfish liver is the cheapest item, by a decent margin, at the GAP fishmonger, it's kind of hard for me to forgo it.  Besides, I was jonsing for another shot of the Ponzu that I've now learned to make.

Nevertheless, I do try to avoid totally falling into ruts.  So, tonight:  Monkfish Liver Two Ways!

First way, Ankimo.   I so enjoyed the way the jarred yuzu/chili paste I used tasted in my Ponzu last time that I put in a lot more tonight.  Part of me was afraid I was way overdoing it -- but the rest of my was like, "MORE COWBELL!"  And you know what?  When I tasted it after preparing it and mixing in the grated daikon, I thought, "shit, I fucked this up:  this is WAY too spicy."  BUT, when I had it as a condiment with the Ankimo -- which is not just rich but Filthy Rich -- it was like PERFECT.  Just what that hyper-rich Ankimo needed.  (My heart is still going to stop -- but I'll die happy.)  And, oh yeah, filling in for the cut-up scallion garnish:  RAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Second way, pan seared.  With a Vermouth Blanc/lemon pan sauce (and grated lemon zest as a garnish).  That lemony sauce worked just as well as a foil for the extreme richness of the liver as the spicy Ponzu did.

The inevitable Pea Shoots Goma-Ae on the side.  (I've gotten pretty good at that, too.)

The Second Way was French.  And it seemed to me that I wanted a wine with acid to cut the richness of my protein, but with enough richness not to be totally defeated by it.  (I've seen recommendations of something like a Muscadet with this stuff, but I think you'd hardly even know that wine was there.) (Maybe an aged Muscadet -- which come to think of it I'll try with my inevitable next monkfish liver iteration.) (If I live.)

2016 Domaine des Terres du Chatenay "Le Cuvée de Béracius"

This Mâcon-Villages is another wine that I've been pretty indifferent to in the past, but now, at least, seems to be really hitting the spot.  Maybe it needed some more bottle age.  Or maybe tonight's dinner was overwhelming enough that the wine could take a back seat and just be present, if you know what I mean.  Either way, it worked.

Lemon, some pears and apples (but happily more lemon).  A not-ununctuous texture (just what I wanted).  And that necessary shot of acid at the end.  And then, best of all (and not necessarily to be expected), some salinity at the very close!  Good job!

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I read all these threads about these fabulous dinners people have at home, with photogenic, obviously labor-intensive food, and legendary bottles.   I can't speak for anybody else on this board, bu

If I'm not enjoying wine when I'm seventy, then my nieces and nephews are going to be stuck with a shitload of wine they won't know what to do with.   Or my next wife, who by then should be almost

Whaddya mean? That's more than half the meals I serve. Tossed with great care, I might add.

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More roast leg of goat (fuck this is good) (too many anchovies, though).  Those ramp leaves look like green vegetables to me.  But on the advice of Certain People, I sautéed some more broccoli rabe to have on the side.  It was the end of a really nice batch.

In bed this morning, it occurred to me that I had a perfect wine for this dish sitting around waiting to be drunk.  So you can imagine my consternation, as I tried to open this bottle of a wine that has the reputation of being able to age pretty much indefinitely, when the cork immediately disintegrated into sandy dust.*

1997 Luis Pato Quinta de Ribeirinho Pé Franco

Whew!  The cork situation wasn't pretty (and isn't Portugal like the world's biggest cork producer?) -- but the wine was fine.  That was close!

Luis Pato, of Bairrada, is not only one of my very favorite winemakers, but is also the (literal) progenitor of a couple of my other favorites (it's a sign of Pato père's legendary irascibility that none of his winemaking children works with him).  But Pato's irascibility is what made him as a winemaker:  he crankily insisted on making wines by strictly traditional methods way before that was fashionable.

The closest cognate to Bairrada wines is Barolo/Barbaresco.  They share the same characteristic of somehow being heavy and light simultaneously -- resembling both Bordeaux and Burgundies.  Bairradas (the grape is Baga) are a little heavier (certainly inkier) than the Langhe wines -- but they still have an essential lightness.  They're great with roast lamb -- and now I can tell you that this one, at least, is great with roast goat.

This wine, made from ungrafted pre-phyll Baga, is Pato's senior cuvée.   It is reputed, as I said, to last forever (I was worried -- until I dealt with the cork -- I might be opening it too soon).  The fruit is decidedly still there -- but of course most of the show now is the black licorice and savory herbs that follow it in a remarkably long finish.  And this is one red that no one would hesitate to describe as acidic (there's also a lot of tannin [or was], which is why it ages so well).  Very good for Boer goat, which is -- for goat -- a bit on the fatty side.

Portugal is revoking its Golden Passport program in Lisbon and Porto.  So, unless I can get my act together by the end of this year (highly unlikely), I'll have to move to Coimbra.  But Coimbra is closer to Bairrado.  Maybe not such a loss.

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* Because this bottle had a Fucking Wax Capsule, I couldn't use my Durant initially, as any intelligent person would do with a wine of this age.

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One of my favorite recipes:  Melissa Clark's scallops in sorrel butter.  One change I always make is to use Vermouth Blanc rather than the stipulated dry Vermouth.  This is such an obvious improvement that I can't imagine why the recipe doesn't call for Blanc to begin with.

Today, having a surfeit of mushrooms lying around, I added some, both Cordyceps and Yellow Foots.   I'm not sure they made the dish better, but they didn't detract.  For one of my ktichen "ideas", that's high praise.

Fuck it.  I decided that sorrel is a green vegetable.  That GF can go full Lysistrata on me if she wants (not that she was anywhere near this dinner:  more wasted Cordycep-promoted male vitality); she won't persuade me otherwise.

I don't know what convinced me, mid-afternoon, that a non-oxidative Jura Savagnin was the thing to drink with this.  But I convinced I was.

2012 Domaine du Pélican Arbois Savignin Ouillé

Jura Savignins are so long-lived that your concern when opening a 2012 in 2021 is that it might be too young.  This seems to be well within its window, though (although no one who has any should feel any need to rush).

It did what I hoped.  The overwhelmingly predominant acid (although not as overwhelming as in the Savignins of my youth, which were honestly a little hard to drink) went well with the lemony sorrel.  (The fruit in the wine is closer to grapefruit than lemon -- but it was all good.)  The slight nuttiness (slight:  again, this is the Jura style that is not Sous-Voile) made me even more glad than before that I went with a Vermouth Blanc in the scallops rather than a dry one -- and it also loved the scallops themselves.

Of course, one requirement of a good pairing is that you really like the wine to begin with.  I really like this one.

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t did what I hoped.  The overwhelmingly predominant acid (although not as overwhelming as in the Savignins of my youth, which were honestly a little hard to drink) went well with the lemony sorrel. 

 

Isn't this what's wrong with Pelican? Wouldn't you have preferred Puffeney made this wine? 

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The last of the leg of goat (don't worry:  I still have a neck in the freezer).

Broccoli rabe, steamed to holy hell, on the side.  (This week's batch:  obviously a way along from last week's batch.)

Having enjoyed a Nebbiolo-like Bairrada with this earlier in the week, I thought, what about a light mountain Nebbiolo?

2002 Ar.Pe.Pe. Valtellina Superiore Sasella "Rocce Rosse"

First, I thought a light mountain Nebbiolo would go well with goat in a savory/citrusy gravy.  Second, they have lots of goats in Valtellina -- although they seem to milk them more than they eat them.

In the event, this wine -- often derided by reviewers as too light -- was, if anything, a little too heavy.  It might have been better, for a pairing, if I went with a mountain blend from Lessona or Bramaterra, which are really on the lighter side. 

In and of itself, though, this wine is fine.  If you complain it's too light, it means you're looking for a different wine.  Cuz you can't say this is unstructured.  It's just not a take-no-prisoners blockbuster.

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Dover sole with ramps and morels.  And, white asparagus with ramps and morels.

This wasn't Tom And Padma's (non-)recipe.  This was more like a simple Meunière -- except with ramps and morels replacing the capers.  And tarragon replacing the parsley.  And -- cuz I'm on a kick -- Vermouth Blanc replacing the lemon juice (I hate to say this, but dry would have been even better).  And, I left the skin on the Sole -- cuz Jesus Christ why would anyone remove that lovely skin????????????  (Especially now that I've finally learned how to crisp it.)

Also, a big night for me:  this was the first time, ever, that I managed to flip a fairly sizeable fish fillet without breaking it apart.  Yay me.

The wine choice was obvious.  The only decision was whether to open a grand old Meursault, or to make like Thursday.  I made like Thursday.  Maybe if I'd known I'd be having an unprecedented triumph flipping the fish, I'd have gone with the Meursault.

2014 Talmard Macon-Uchizy

A totally ordinary Bourgogne Blanc.

Fine.

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The real question here is whether it's worth it to pay to have wild Dover Sole shipped over here from Portugal (via Maine).  Whatever they pull out of the waters here that they call Sole isn't anywhere near as good as this.  So on the "the good is the enemy of the perfect" theory, it's sort of worth it if you're gonna insist on getting something called "Sole".

But is this so much better than, say, locally caught John Dory?  I'm not sure.   I mean, it's better -- but it's a lot more expensive (not to mention the carbon footprint).

Sure is good, though.  I mean, REALLY REALLY good.  And still cheaper than eating out.

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17 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

And, I left the skin on -- cuz Jesus Christ why would anyone remove that lovely skin????????????  (Especially now that I've finally learned how to crisp it.)

I guess you could remove the skin and crisp it on its own.  But even I have more of a life than that.

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2 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

2014 Talmard Macon-Uchizy

A totally ordinary Bourgogne Blanc.

Fine.

I think inexpensive Bourgogne Blanc is going back to where it was when I started drinking wine in the '70s.  By which I mean, good versions are fairly plentiful.  For a long time, they weren’t.  But now I'm no longer surprised to find them.

You know what?  (To me, this is surprising.)  Accounting for inflation, the current good ones aren't even more expensive.  (It does make me a little uncomfortable that $5 in 1975 equals $25 or so now.)

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Maguro Zuke Don (marinated tuna ricebowl duh) (yeah this rice cooker has made my life better).  Some really good pickled squash they make at Evolutionary Organics on the side.  Garnished with way too many RAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSS.  (A trick:  there's no such thing as way too many RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSS.)

Oh, and I wasn't going to eat the tuna skin raw.  So I cut it off and crisped it and used it as another garnish.  I guess I don't have as much of a life as I thought.

If you're not gonna have Sake or Sherry with this, it's pretty obvious what you are gonna have.

2017 Cantzheim Riesling "die Gärtnerin"

A Feinherb, just barely off-dry.  The idea is that the acid and the very slight sweetness offset the salty soy saucy marinade, while the rich Riesling flavor is enough to handle the meaty meaty tuna.

The idea, happily, translated into reality.

What's notable about this wine is the bounty of exotic fruit it leads off with.  It's almost explosive.  These are old vines, and the flavors are concentrated.

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When I had some marinated tuna, ramps, pickled summer squash, and rice left in the bowl Friday night, it was pretty clear they'd form the basis of a killer omurice.  (Of course, I added some carrot.  I don't yet have any peas.)

I didn't have it in me to try the "tornado" style tonight.

Flowering arugula salad on the side.

Fairly straigtforward wine choice.

2018 Domain Denis Carré Bourgogne Aligoté "Le Topeau du Clou"

There is some very good Natural Aligoté being made today.  It smashes the previous image of Aligoté as an inherently mediocre wine, best fit for using as the base of a Kir.

This isn't that.  What this is, is a trad Aligoté -- but farmed on very good terrain and made to very high standards.

It isn't shocking like the really good Natural Aligotés.  It tastes like a boring old Aligoté -- but a lot better.  A boring old Aligoté in excelsis.

Citrus and apple (mainly citrus) up front.  Not a lot of minerals after that -- but a shit-ton of acid.  All rendered with great precision (which is how it comes across as good rather than fair).

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