Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chef's Cheese Degustation: course two

Our review of orenji's recently created Chef's Cheese Degustation continues with our take on Caesar Salad (re-imagined). Inspired by American super-chef Thomas Keller, our intent was to highlight the separate concentrated flavors of the traditional components to this all-too-common salad in an uncommon way.

The center of the dish was a smooth and light custard, infused with the sharp flavors of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parma, Italy). This cheese, the gold standard for Italian hard cheeses, is an un-pressed fatty yellow cow's milk cheese which is brined and aged until the proper texture and flavor has developed. The custard sat atop a crunchy sourdough "crouton," topped with a garlic and thyme-infused tuile (crispy butter-based "cookie"), chiffonade of hearts of romaine, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. A liberal sprinkling of sea salt and fresh cracked telicherry pepper finished this tower of gustatory delight!

Accompanying the smooth cool custard was a freshly baked round of brioche, grilled with a soft-cooked quail egg-- reflecting the fact that traditional Caesar dressing begins with a base of eggs. A smooth and salty essence of anchovy-- another key component to the Caesar salad, as well as aged balsamic syrup, added deep and bright notes respectively, complimenting and uniting the flavors on the plate.

To compliment our deconstructed Caesar salad, we chose a deliciously refreshing Sancerre (Pascal Jolibet, Sancerre, France 2006)-- with hints of pear and citrus, and a light floral finish, this semi-sweet wine provided the perfect balance to the richness of the custard and anchovy flavors. All in all, perhaps one of the best "salads" we have ever eaten!

In our next post, we turn our attention to pizza... deconstructed! It promises to be interesting...

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