Firstly, happy New Year all, I hope 2011 brings everyone great times. This year we had a quiet dinner at home with friends on New Year's Eve, a departure from our party in Buenos Aires last year, but it was quite nice. It also gave me an opportunity to try my hand at a dish Tom Colicchio taught us a month or so ago.
"Wait, Colicchio taught you?" you ask? If you were paying attention, I hinted at it in a much earlier post, but back in 2009 we attended City Harvest's gala event, Bid Against Hunger, and at the live auction we won a package that included a cocktail party with Eben Klemm, a tray from Caviarteria, and a private cooking lesson from Chef Colicchio.
(We got a really great deal, it was the first auction item and it seemed that people were not fully paying attention and the gavel nearly fell with it going for a song, but the wife noticed and jumped in and scooped it up at a slightly higher but still surprisingly low price. It was not one of the later items you may have read about that went for crazy prices. I almost felt bad about our steal.) In any case, it is a great event with a mind numbing number of great bites of food from top restaurants, plenty of wine and cocktails, and fun auction items, all for a great cause; I highly recommend checking it out this year if you are into such things. We hit the 2010 event as well.
When we ended up scheduling the lesson with Chef Colicchio, I was not sure what to expect, but the experience turned out to be much better than I had even hoped. Colicchio was extremely generous, both with his time and the food, and was thoroughly gregarious for the entire afternoon he spent with us.
We showed up at Craft's private dining room with little idea how the day would work. but that turned out to be because the plan was to walk down a coupe blocks to the Union Square green market and see what looked good and and what we liked and go from there.
Those Crosnes were destined to accompany the peak season Nantucket Bay scallops the Chef retrieved from Craft's walk in. I had tasted an excellent Sturgeon dish with speck, beets, and horseradish prepared by him at both the first night of his Tom:Tuesday Dinners and at an Autumn 'Farm-Maker' Dinner I attended, and I asked if it might be possible to do something along those lines, thus the beets. Mostly we just got what looked good and he figured out what to do with it once we got back to the kitchen.
We also got a tour of the downstairs kitchen and walk-ins when we went down to pick out the proteins. This is when we grabbed the wrapped sturgeon, the bay scallops, and a thick pork chop.
As you can see, he drafted Craft's chef de cuisine James Tracy to lend a hand finishing the pasta, here's the play by play:
Batali's basic recipe but threw in an extra yolk and a pinch of salt for kicks.
I suppose this post is getting a bit long in the tooth, so I'll finish up with some quick hits covering the rest of our lesson with Colicchio.