Thursday, July 12, 2007

a birthday degustation: course seven

We turn our attention to the seventh course of our recently prepared birthday degustation menu and wine tasting. Course seven (not including our sorbet and amuses bouche, of course), was the "meat course," and as such, was designed with the richest, boldest flavors in mind-- as compared to the remainder of the courses served. It was also one of the most attractive plates served during the course of the evening, followed closely (in our humble opinion) by the salad course (to be described in a later post).

The meat course began with a breast of free-range veal, which was oven-braised overnight in a stock infused with red wine, roasted shallots, juniper berries, fresh herbs, and root vegetables. The breast was deboned, cooled, weighted, and cut into medallions. The medallions were later coated with mustard and panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and pan-seared prior to serving.

Accompanying the veal medallion was a galette (a French descriptor for a "round and crusty type of cake") made from freshly rolled gnocchi, fresh herbs, and semolina flour, which was pan-fried to a golden crispy brown prior to serving.

To serve, the pan-seared veal was placed atop the pan-fried gnocchi galette. The meat was then topped with a warm salad of root vegetables (yellow and ruby beets, parsnips, turnips, carrots), fresh thyme, and sweet garlic. The garlic was steeped in boiling milk repeatedly to remove the bitterness, and then quickly sauteed with some sugar and beurre monte to aid in caramelization.

The entire "stack" of components was topped with a reduction of the poaching liquid that had been infused with the earthy tang of juniper berries. Lastly, the plate was dotted with juniper berry-infused oil to tie the flavors together. Overall, the crispness of the galette perfectly complimented the tender braised veal, with the fresh crunch of the root vegetables and sweet garlic rounding out the preparation both in texture and in taste.

The meat course was paired with a California Cabernet Sauvignon, 337, from Lodi (2005). The wine was bold and smooth, and perfectly complimented the cuisine. In this case, we couldn't have asked for a better pairing! Check back soon to see what all the buzz is about the plated salad course. You don't want to miss it!

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