Tonight, Friday, October 9, 2009, I had the privilege of cooking for Preston. I had not seen him in a coon's age (in context, that means not for five days or so) so I was anxious to prepare a very good meal for him.
We traveled to Italy together once so I know he likes food indigenous to the Amalfi Coast -- seafood, Campanian wines, mozzarella. I resolved that tonight was going to hit every one of those buttons!
The starter, pictured above, is a classic Caprese salad, constructed of organic heirloom tomatoes, organic mozzarella, homegrown organic basil, organic olive oil and, yes, organic balsamic vinegar. I dispersed black sea salt atop it.
I served a Falanghina wine.
I'm bored with rice and pasta and polenta...all the usual platforms upon which one builds an Italian entrée. I decided that I was going to use a meaty mushroom as my base. Lobster mushrooms are a perfect match texturally and flavorfully, so they were a natural choice.
Next was a consideration of taste, texture and color. I used spring onions, roasted pumpkin seeds, small pitted black olives and the aforementioned mushrooms, all pan sautéed in butter and paprika. I tossed in two handfuls of baby arugula at the very end and removed it from the heat into a stainless steel IKEA bowl. Perfect.
Using the same skillet without a cleaning (but with a spray of olive oil Pam), I seared the diver scallops for four minutes on one side, three minutes on the other, and 30 seconds again on the initial side to ensure a brown sear mark.
I plated the mushroom mixture and an Essential Bakery dinner roll, then added the three scallops. Paprika was sprinkled around the perimeter and and directly on the scallops.
This course earned a Les Crêtes Vallé d'Aosta cuvée bois Chardonnay, one of Italy's grandest Chardonnays. According to their Web site: The wine has a brilliant, straw yellow color. Intense, full nose with nuances of fruits (plum, exotic fruits), spices (vanilla) and a delicate toasty aroma. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, warm and velvety with mineral undertones and a lively acidity at the finish.
For dessert, we enjoyed a tarte tatin from Hiroki. I served a California muscatto.
My hope is that Preston enjoyed the meal.
Does it sound good to you? Let me know!