Who said you can only have a festive dinner at home on a Saturday or Sunday? For me, having a night off with my wife, a couple of good wines in the cellar and some lovely food in my fridge, ready to be cooked, is an excuse good enough for a night of pleasure.
We started off with a bottle of 2002 La Grande Année from Bollinger. This rich, food driven champagne showed a beautiful, generous nose of sweetest honey and red apple skin. Intense and creamy in the mouth with the same flavors of apple and honey with a touch of milk chocolate in the end that rang out in a long, everlasting finish. Enjoyed in feather light sommelier glasses from Riedel didn't harm either.
With the champagne, and as a first starter, I made a salmon tataki with salmon roe, dill mayonnaise and seaweed salad. The salmon was brushed with soy and mirin before I burnt it off with a torch. A nice little start.
Next I served cold smoked tartar of wagyu beef served with a variation of onions. Miniature onion rings, pickled onions, chives, ash from leek and a puree made of white onion that I lightly sweat in the pan for almost two hours until the onion melted into a toffee sweet "marmalade" before I blitzed it up to a silky smooth texture and seasoned it with brown butter ...voilà. A fantastic dish I must say and I wouldn't be surprised if I decide to serve it in a near future.
Second wine wasn't bad either. Vérité from Sonoma in USA makes three red wines all inspired of different areas of Bordeaux. La Muse is a Merlot inspired by the wines from Pomerol, Le Désir has the great reds from Saint-Émilion as a model and is obviously made from Cabernet Franc and finally they make a Cabernet Sauvignon called La Joie after the clarets from Pauillac. The later was also the wine that we had the pleasure to drink this evening. 2004 La Joie was very closed when I first opened it up before we started the dinner. But when poured, two hours later, in big glasses made specifically for the grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon a rich aroma of cherry liqueur, newly roasted coffee, vanilla and currents exploded in the nose. Still this is a very elegant californian red and far from over-extracted, very bordeaux like with a super silky mouth feel. Do I need to say it matched perfectly with the slow braised lamb I served with artichokes?
For the third time this evening I introduced the new blowtorch I purchased a few days earlier. This time I used it to caramelize the surface of classic vanilla crème brûlée that I served with blackberry and lime compote. A classic dessert that never dies.
The evening ended with a movie, Lagavulin 16 years and a bag of chips. Yum!!!