A Modern Spanish Vintner's Dinner...

Last week proved to be a busy one with many festivities and functions happening left and right. As previously posted, our Prez. Ball was a huge undertaking and nothing but a great success! The event that followed was not any different. It was a special vintner’s tasting dinner for a local fundraising organization called Poncho, which has proven to be the biggest wine event of the year in Washington state. Poncho, which raises monies for the arts organizations around the community, held it’s annual fundraising auction event on Saturday, Oct. 18th for hundreds of fat cats at some local hotel, and as a perk to the 70-some who sported at least a thou to get in(not including the dough spent at the auction) they were treated to a special dinner to which I was so honored to be asked to cook for. It was awesome! This year’s theme was Spain(of course) with magnums of Spanish wines everywhere, Georges Riedel in attendance from Riedel Glassware and even a professional master ham carver flown in from Valladolid. We were to serve some passed hors d’oeuvres, along side some wonderfully delicious Spanish Iberico Ham which was brought in from Embutinos Fermin, of Fermin USA and in collaboration with Jose Andres, which was sliced to perfection by Roberto Sanz; our maestro of the knife from Valladolid, a region of the Castile Leon in North central Spain. We watched him carve the luscious fat laden ham in the kitchen and at a station in front of the guests. As you can see,
it was nice to watch him prep the ham in our kitchen quickly and efficiently as we savored the rich, sweet funky flavor that this ham and Spain are so well know for. This was the Jamon Iberico, the least richest of the three that Fermin produces (but nothing close to inferior mind you), as the other two are not yet available in the US, or are just now starting to enter our prized country. For the reception, we served up some fantastic artisan and fermier cheeses from Spain, ranging from cow’s milk(mahon, manchego), sheep(roncal) goat(garroxta, drunken goat, montenebro), and blue(valdeon), along with Chilled White Gazpachos,
marinated green olives with orange and garlic, fresh rustic breads, Dauro de L'Emporda olive oil, romesco, quince jam, marcona almonds and passed Rolled Omelettes
filled with foie gras, smoked paprika and manchego, and set on a small spoon with a good drop of truffled apricot conserve and sherry reduction…a sheer puddle of goodness!
The dinner then played out with a plethora of very savory flavors, flanked by nuances of sweet, subtle boldness and unctuousness that hails from my research of Spain as well as my modern northwest take on the whole ordeal. For those that know me, they know I never claim to want to be “authentic”~ Hell no! Set your own path and stake your own claim! We started with a Potato-“Brandade”-Date Terrine,

all layered in a savory sweet collee embellished with hints of saffron, and served with an heirloom tomato jam, Spanish Bouquerones, fennel, smoked paprika aioli, micro greens and sherry syrup.

Next was a Seared Foie Gras Tart with caramelized walla walla onions, glazed black mission figs, vadouvan braised bananas, micro burgundy amaranth and a warm vinaigrette of the vadouvan butter and pedro ximenez.

I’m sorry, did you say it doesn’t get much sexier than this??? Following that sensory overload was a Seared Diver Sea Scallop on top of a braised slice of rich pork belly.

Now some may attest to the fact that this does not do the scallop or any fish justice. Maybe, maybe not. I can tell you though, that the flavor rocks even if it is a bit competitive in nature. We paired that with sautéed leeks, an olive oil enriched chickpea puree, “poached eggs & bacon”, which was seasoned egg drops poached in butter, and dried chorizo dust, both strewn over the top for flavor and fun. A light and refreshing quince essence served as a nice foil for the richness.

The main course was a Roasted Garlic Crusted Loin of Lamb, which we sprinkled a dry streusel on top with artichoke and potato powders and finished them to a nice medium. It was accompanied by roasted red grapes, a slow braised "pave" of sugar pie pumpkin, roasted cipolline onions, valdeon cheese crumbles and wild chanterelles. All this and more in a bath of smoked tomato and paprika subjected lamb jus.

Dessert followed and was dubbed as “Queso & Chocolate” which was a slow poached white nectarine, then bruleed, and snuggled up close to a staircase of manchego cheese, black olive syrup and brittle, a chocolate a’la taza, or hot chocolate for the lay…topped with a warm cinnamon tossed bunuelo(donut) and lastly a bite of Spanish Dauro olive oil chocolate. This dinner had so many flavors happening, yet was very soothing to the soul. The flavors worked well together and the flow was great. Then kitchen team was at a good steady hum. People in their places, product ready, ala carte not too crazy. Our peeps did well and did me proud! As I wrote this though, I felt it weird…every now and then, I feel that we are doing these really cool things and cooking some awesome kick-ass food and forging fast and strong ahead and I look around for a moment and catch a glimpse of someone and get the perception that it is no big deal to them. Not really this time, but once in a while. I wonder~ is it that perhaps the meal we are doing is not all that? Are they too comfortable and now bored? To used to a good thing? Not aware of the color of the grass on the other side of the fence or all the above. Is it me? Probably. Maybe I am just twisted and have a jaded perception. Maybe I am too damn comfortable!?! Time to step it up and keep it fresh. At any rate…I hope they liked it, because I know that the passion that is evident in this kitchen is not everywhere for that I am certain and thankful for. We should all be so fortunate...

notes...contemplation of thought about the plate up

service...plating up the terrine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations,the dinner was delicious.

Diego Diaz

12:35:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

Thank you Diego, glad you enjoyed it,. It was quite fun to cook for you all. We had a great time. Best...Bill

12:59:00 PM  

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