The gathering in the picture above lead to our first official Supper Club meeting last evening. First, we’re a group of friends. Second, we are all of like mind with regards to food and wine. Third, some of us really enjoy cooking and those that don’t are really good at cleanup…how perfect is that.
The theme for our first meeting was small plates and wine pairings. Our hosts provided the entrees and everyone else signed up for an appetizer, soup, salad or dessert. We let the host know what we were bringing and the wine steward paired wine(S) to our dishes. Get ready…you’ll be full and tipsy at the end of the post.
We started in the kitchen…of course. Why is it that no matter the size of your home, living or entertainment space the guest want to gather in the kitchen. I truly think we would’ve stayed there all night if not instructed, otherwise. We enjoyed two nibbles…a scrumptious Sundried Tomato and Brined Vegetable Spread with Crostini and warm, piquant Stilton Tartlets.
Both were just perfect alone but together with Argyle Brut Rose…well, it was a superb start for the evening. The nibbles were just powerful enough to awaken the senses. Then the super rich and vicious Argyle created the perfect aura to call the club to order.
What was an ideal transition from the starter to the soup was totally un-orchestrated. However, the pacing was perfect as we were introduced to a silken Vichyssoise paired with Pascal Jolivet Sancerre. The palette relaxed as it was introduced to the perfect texture in the soup which left a vail of flavor that was gently washed about by the racy acidity of the dry and elegant Sauvignon. The soup was served in dainty French tumblers and the wine in cinch stemware. We were encouraged to migrate to the dining room and posed around the table displaying double-fisted technique in grand style.
Pacing became a theme of the evening so some retired to the music parlor, some mingled about and I assisted in plating the salad. I tell you the balance of entertaining and photography is something I still have to work on. The stacked salad was a work of art…and I was so excited to get it served that I didn’t photograph it. I have found one online that is similar.We didn’t have the bottom layer of green this one shows but it’s really close. The avocado and crab moved our palette forward a bit but the balance of flavors were still light and delectable. Then the 2011 Conti Formentini was one of the unique wines of the evening. Gathered from high elevation vineyards, the 100% Friulano along with the 20/80 fermentation and a wine-making tradition dating back to 1520 made this pairing extra special.
Thankfully, the entrees had to be grilled. We all enjoyed visiting and crazy as it sounds…talking about our next gathering. Then suddenly, the hosts appears with a skewer of magic from the sea as if we were in a villa perched over the Amalfi Coast.
I just don’t know how those with shellfish allergies or no desire for seafood survive. These shrimp were succulent. The ever so light dusting of seasoning and the depth of grilled flavor were tantalizing but then they were floating in a pool of “you should jar this and sell it” remoulade. That’s right. None of us wanted the recipe…we just wanted a jar of it to take home. We stopped short of licking the plates but only because we found crostini to do the job. Lest we forget we were at a tasting dinner a Pinot was poured that sent the WOW factor over the top.
The entrée was introduced as “Surf and Turf”. Therefore, just as we were about to surf off into the horizon looking for more remoulade we were presented with a stunning rack of lamb still sizzling from a brief visit with the grill.
And, yes…what’s the perfect lamb lollipop without the perfect wine…and I do mean perfect. The Hecht & Bannier, Cotes du Roussillon Village in my opinion was by far the best wine of the evening. Everything to this point had been beautifully presented, exquisite in taste and assuredly memorable. I certainly wouldn’t take anything away from anyones efforts but if you ordered this pairing in a restaurant you could expect to pay a handsome price. It was so simple yet so complex and undeniably a highly memorable culinary pas de deux. The lamb was accompanied by an elegant grill Yukon Gold Potato and rested comfortably by a puddle of Salsa Verde. Again, the only way the Salsa Verde would’ve been better would be in a jar at my house. As for the wine I would try to describe it but I have to yield to a description I found listed from the New York restaurant Dirt Candy…a kinetic red wine with blackberry fruit blended with the mineral taste of the black schist in which it’s grown, giving it an edge of ash and a bit of smokiness like you’d expect to find in a good Scotch. It’s old, it’s a study in contrasts, and it comes out of the bottle ready for a fight. It’s basically a wine that tastes like Robert Shaw in JAWS. The pairing was truly spectacular!!!
I did the dessert and knew that we wouldn’t want/need an overly rich finish to the meal. I’m a big fan of a “cheese plate” so I decided to do a cheese dessert. To make it fun and memorable I did “push-ups“. Just like the push-up from the ice cream truck but plastic and washable. I did them parfait-style beginning with a layer of Honeyed Goat Cheese Tart; then a layer of Orange Spoon Fruit and Feta Cheese and topped with Ricotta Ice Cream with Honey and Almonds. I froze the entire dessert and will admit while the top half was perfect the Goat Cheese part of it was a bit firm. However, it allowed for eating that part just like we did “push-ups” as kids on Brewer St. I added tall spoons to allow dipping as well as pushing.
Now, if we hadn’t had enough libation we imbibed yet again with an incredible Port. Warre’s, Otima 10 year Tawny Port is made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz and Tina Cao. The wine is fermented at cool temperatures until the desired sugar level is reached. I’m not a big fan of ports but when it’s good; it’s good…and this one is GREAT!!!
Oh my, what a great evening of good food, wine and great friends. It seems an understatement but I must say the house was lovely and a good time was had by all!!!