Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shuck Me!

So I was working on some fresh oysters this morning from the Hood Canal in Washington and I actually shucked myself. Fun as it was I had to discontinue trying the oysters...I had opened a grand total of one before I sliced and diced my thumb. Shucking and baking are two aspects of cooking that I tend to shy away from, and this incident didn't help. As for baking, if baking is the science and cooking is the art well...I definitely failed science all through high school, just ask The Brain, so it makes sense.

So after that debacle was over with it was time for me to consider my special for the evening. I usually know what I am going to make as my special before I walk through the doors each day. This day was no different. Well, maybe it was in the sense that I brought in a bottle of wine from my personal collection at home, something I stumbled upon in the course of moving this weekend. It was a bottle of wine I actually received (OK, stole) at The Brain's wedding several years ago.

I am not a sommelier by any means, but I have been known to pick up a few distinct flavors from time to time. This particular bottle of wine was the Winter White from the Pindar vineyard in Long Island. Any who, once I opened it and tried it, well, to put it bluntly, the tannins were a little on the strong side. Not one to waste alcohol I decided to make a sauce with it for my special the following day.

When I got into work and showed my GM the bottle of wine, however, he said it was much better used for drinking and too good of a wine to use for cooking. Like I said I am not a wine connoisseur so I disagreed. As I walked back into the kitchen I took another sip of the wine... maybe he was right???? After taking another sip (gulp) of the wine it disappeared into the beginning of a gastrique that I was making.

A gastrique is a thick sauce made by reducing a vinegar with wine or sugar, and usually involves some type of fruit. In its simplest form it would only be caramelized sugar mixed with a little vinegar. So after my sauce was done, it took almost 2 hours ( I am patient only with food) I mixed it with some roasted shallot mashed potatoes and grilled rapini. Stop in and try it!!!

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