We went into Boston to "The Butcher Shop" restaurant a few months back and we sat at the bar and had a plate similar to this dish. I combined some good looking Salami and Soppressata from Whole Foods with some of our favorite cheeses (Borough's Market Stilton and Boucheron). I also put some Cornishon's, whole grain mustard, French prunes and creamed clover honey (which we remembered being so good at the restaurant, and it was still good at home). I got some rustic sprouted wheat boule and Whole Foods "Seeduction bread", and I put a few slices of each in the oven for about 10 minutes just to crisp up a bit then drizzled with olive oil. We love this kind of thing to start the meal with a cocktail made by Tony.
I was looking for ideas and this was one of the first ones I came across, it was on Laura Calder's show "French Food at Home". This recipe uses fresh figs and they are just not at the market's right now so I had to use the dry ones and reconstitute them. The tart shell itself is made from store bought frozen puff pastry and instead of letting them puff up in the oven you place rounds of puff pastry on a cookie sheet and place another cookie sheet on top and bake them just like that and they come out like a crisp "cracker". Then you spread on some goat's cheese that you season with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and a little heavy cream just to make it more spreadable. The figs go on top of the cheese then some toasted walnuts and some reduced port wine and sugar to make a syrup over that. I put some arugula leaves on the plate and the combination of all those flavors was Divine.
Sea Bass Chips over Buttered Snap Peas and Bell Pepper Agra Dulce
This dish came from a combination of two shows I watched over the week. One was Iron Chef America and the other was from a chef named Michel Richard, and I don't recall the show he was on. Iron Chef's secret ingredient was Wreck Fish and on Morimoto's side they made a "chip" out of the secret ingredient by pounding it and coating it in potato starch, then frying it. So, OK I will do that... What should I serve that with? I remembered seeing the show with Michel Ruchard and he julienned snap peas and cooked them in a little chicken stock and a good amount of butter. I did that with maybe less butter but enough so it was rich tasting. He piled the julienne of snap peas on a serving plate and put a shrimp that he made crispy in the bed of snap peas, then drizzled some kind of yummy looking red sauce around the plate. I thought for my dish a bright looking bell pepper Agra Dulce would be a good compliment to my fish chip and the snap peas. I combined a cup of water, 2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 5-6 Tbsp sugar, salt, hot sauce to taste, diced orange bell pepper, 1/2 of a small onion diced and a handful of cherry tomatoes. I think that was it. I cooked it all over low heat until all the vegetables were softened about an hour. By this time the liquid has reduced and I thickened it a bit with just 1/2 tsp cornstarch and a little cold water. So I pounded out some pieces of Chilean Sea Bass to about 1/4 inch thick and seasoned with salt and pepper then the potato starch, fried them in canola oil and it worked like a charm! This was quite good! I will have to do this again as a main dish, just make everything bigger...
Crepes Filled with Orange Cream and Chocolate
I made a basic sweet crepe recipe ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator. When it was time to have dessert I put some butter in a non-stick skillet and just rewarmed two crepes. While they were heating I whipped some heavy cream with some vanilla sugar and orange zest to soft peaks. I melted some bittersweet chocolate in a little hot heavy cream. I also folded some hazelnut praline into the whipped cream. I layed out one crepe and spread a couple tablespoons of chocolate on one side and topped that with some whipped cream (maybe 1/2 cup whipped) then folded it in half then in half again to form a triangle. Garnish with a mint leaf and a bit of chocolate on the plate with some long strips of orange zest (so you know exactly what to expect when you take a bite of the crepe).