Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A New Style

Now that we are officially in the cusp between summer and autumn I can create some truly unique dishes that could only be done in this short window of time.

Despite the delivery fiasco the last time I used ling cod for a special I couldn't deny what a great product that they normally get. With the skyrocketing prices of fish and seafood these days I really appreciate the ability to offer fresh, line caught fish from off of the coast of Washington (Neah Bay, to be precise) at a price point within our range. It is moist, flaky and delicious. I couldn't wait to use it again.

I wrapped hefty seven ounce portions of the cod with paper-thin slices of prosciutto to subtly infuse it's salty goodness the way that one would use bacon for more bolder proteins. The wrapping creates a barrier and allows me to simply place the fish in a pan and roast in the oven, keeping the flesh from sticking.

To pair with such a delicate fish I used several flavors of the season, starting last weekend when I pureed very ripe, end of the season heirloom tomatoes and poured the pulp into a bowl lined with a cloth napkin, tied the ends and hung the sack in the refrigerator, allowing the liquid to slowly drip over the weekend, yielding what is known as "tomato water". Once extremely popular when I started cooking in the Nineties it has fallen out of favor and out of mind until I read an article about it in the New York Times that made me decide to use it here. I simply warm the crystal clear broth with a pinch of kosher salt to allow for the pure flavor to shine.

For the final components I roasted halves of new crop spaghetti squash until tender and scrapped the strands out with a fork that I warmed in the oven while the fish cooked. I also sauteed chopped, local spinach and used a large ring mold to layer the two as a base for the finished ling cod.

As a first for Table 219 I was finally able to showcase a presentation that I've been wanting to utilize for a long time now. By putting the tomato broth into one of our tea kettles I was able to compose the plate with slices of jalapeno pepper topped with little domes of heirloom cherry tomatoes and having the server pour the broth into the bowl at the table; a simple little touch that really makes an impact.

Still grasping at the last bits of summer I wanted to have a drink with one last summer fruit: blueberries.

I have favorably combined blueberries and gin in the past so I wanted find other ways to use fruit with gin, and then I came across the Singapore Sling.

For this sling I muddled fresh blueberries, a lemon wedge and mint leaves, then topped it off with with gin, pineapple juice and a little egg white powder to give it a foamy top after I shake it all together.

Though I am happy with the cocktail, it led me to other ideas that I think could be better. Maybe you'll see a "Seattle Sling" on our cocktail list soon!

With Love,