August 22, 2011

Had some friends over for dinner this weekend. I hadn't cooked a menu from the French Laundry cookbook in a while, so figured I'd fire one up. While one could argue that Thomas Keller's French Laundry is old hat now, I like cooking from the book as it presents challenges to the home cook and forces you to think about preparation (usually takes a couple days) and presentation. The full menu featured four courses including pickled oysters and cucumber capellini, tomato tartare and hericots verts, smoked salmon over potato gnocchi, and braised veal breast over creamy polenta.

I've made a couple of these dishes before, including the tomato tartare with hericots verts and frisee. This salad rocks and was, as usual, a crowd pleaser. The oven-dried tomatoes develop a meaty, umami essence that really plays off the fresh clean flavors of the fresh veggies in the dish.
(sorry for the crappy phone pic on the tomato salad)

I also made the potato gnocchi and smoked salmon with balsamic reduction, which is a rich and decadent dish. The smoked salmon and pillowy gnocchi are a nice mouthful. You could argue this is more of a fall/winter dish, but it was still tasty.
We also drank some nice wines including a bubbly from R.H. Coutier's Grand Cru Ambonnay bottling. This was a tasty match with gougeres and pickled oysters.
We also enjoyed the 2008 Faiveley Mercurey Clos des Myglands. The Faiveley is an excellent value buy from Mercurey, an unheralded commune in the Cote Chalonnaise region of Burgundy. It was a good night of food and wine all around.