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Michael Anthony's mention of eGullet is in a piece on the best new chefs in the US (there are a number mentioned). . . .There is a picture of the summer lettuce soup with *pickled eggplant* that Anthony created with co-chef Dan Barber, also named one of the best new chefs.

Michael Anthony, formerly sous-chef at March, won the First Annual Bertolli Sous Chef Awards. As reported by the spring issue of Art Culinaire . . . One of Anthony's creations photographed was the Smoked Salmon Belly with Avocado-Yogurt Puree an Pickled Watermelon. Note the utilization of pickled eggplant in the dish described by Food & Wine. I wonder what other uses pickling has at BH. :wink:

Dan & Mike -- If you find pickling interesting, could you consider discussing the role of pickled vegetables and pickled fruits in your cuisine? Are certain of your pickling processes different from what one might expect? :raz:

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Cabrales,

We do pickle many products in the kitchen at Blue Hill; turnips, fennel, watermelon, ramps, ginger, eggplant, cucumber,green tomatoes are good examples. I have always been fascinated with the important role that pickles play in Japanese cuisine and I love using their ascertive quality to brighten a dish or add an unexpected flavor to a familiar combination.

The process is similar for most fruits and vegetables that we pickle. We make a pickling solution by combining rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. We bring it to a boil and cover the product, allowing it to cool in the solution. The eggplant and cucumbers require a brief salting period, in which the natural water is drawn out and then we pickle the vegetable.

Thanks for the question.

Mike

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. . . a disc of Testa, (which is made from pork cheeks) on a rice cracker.  It looked like sausage but with a crumbly texture . . . .

-- I liked the testa disc, and wondered what portions of pigs' head had been utilized in it apart from the cheeks. Little integrated "pockets" within the offered slice that had a predominantly fatty, but also slightly gelatinous, texture were helpful to the disc. . . . It was described that there was *pickled fennel (??)* accompanying the testa, but this taste was too subtle to be sampled.

Mike -- Is the taste of pickled fennel supposed to be relatively subtle? As you know, the role of acidity, in which you indicated in another thread you are interested, in the pickling process and the finished product is somewhat intriguing.

In the "books to watch for..." thread under "Food Media and News"::

A French book I am looking forward to receiving: "La Cuisine Acidulee de Michel Troisgros" (The Cuisine of Acidity of Michel Troisgros), expected to be available in November 2002.

http://www.chapitre.com/frame_rec.asp?sess...e.x=5&image.y=3

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cabrales,

The assertiveness of the pickled vegetables, fennel, in this case, depends of the proportions of vinegar, salt and sugar in the basic pickling liquid.

One of my biggest concerns in using noticable acid in flavoring dishes, especially final touches, is the effect it will have on the wine that is being paired with the dish.

So yes, we try to always stay within certain boundries in order to create a harmonious pairing.

Thanks for the question.

Mike

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One of my biggest concerns in using noticable acid in flavoring dishes, especially final touches, is the effect it will have on the wine that is being paired with the dish. 

So yes, we try to always stay within certain boundries in order to create a harmonious pairing.

Mike,

Whether or not people agree that French cuisine is the reigning western cuisine and if so, whether or not it's with good reason--and that debate rages elsewhere on the site--there seems to be a consensus that a strength of both the food and wine of France has been the unique way in which they've developed together. One result is that a large part of the "sophisticated" dining pubic in English speaking countries regards wine as the beverage to be consumed with serious food. Is there more than a chance we're missing something.

I'm a pretty died in the wool francophile when it comes to food, but some time ago, a sommelier I respect, at a French restaurant (in NYC) I also respect, suggested a sake with an hors d'oeuvre. The sake was served chilled and in a nice wine glass. It was an eminently successful match. I wonder if America will lead the way for inclusion of other beverages into a formal and serious meal. Perhaps I will add "in the west"--I have had a meal that lasted almost twelve hours at the home of a friend in Tokyo and the table was littered with numerous glasses as wine, sake, whisky, beer and other alcoholic beverages were introduced along the way, while the existing beverages continued to be poured along with tea. Tea, howevr arrived in courses. Green with the meal and black afterwards. Don't ask if there was also coffee, there may have been but twelve hours of dining and drinking took a toll on my memory.

So will you soon be having a tasting menu with paired glasses of wine, sake and beer as appropriate?

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Bux,

Again, I think that as an "American" restaurant we are less bound by tradition and able to explore many interesting directions with food and beverage pairing and yes, we do pair sake and beer with appropriate items on our tasting menu at Blue Hill.

The importation of premium sake in the United States has increased dramatically in both volume and quality. We now have better access to amazing sake from small producers; unpasturized, unfiltered and best of all, seasonal! Keep in mind these products are very fragile and have to be transported and stored under specific conditions in order to preserve their unique and complex characteristics.

Dark ales and blond wheat beers have been on our mind recently as well. Some outstanding beers are brewed locally!

Here some examples of recent pairings that I am particularly excited about:

Harushika - "shiboribana" with Maine crab salad

Beamish - irish stout with hanger steak and braised romaine

Gueze - by Lindeman's with the Apple-fed Berkshire Pork and corn cakes

Ramstein - blond bavarian style wheat beer ( brewed in Butler, N.J.) with steamed foie gras

Thanks for asking such an interesting question. We do plan to continue to explore oustanding food and beverage marriages.

Mike

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Ramstein - blond bavarian style wheat beer ( brewed in Butler, N.J.) with steamed  foie gras

Mike -- Could you describe the accompanying products/flavors in the steamed foie gras dish? Do the fatty oils/jus from the foie gras remain inside the piece, or does some portion ebb out?

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cabrales,

For the foie gras dish at Blue Hill we use a grade A liver that comes from a farm in the Hudson Valley called, Bobo.

The foie is portioned into thick slabs and seasoned generously with cracked black pepper, fleur de sel and Aleppo pepper. It is placed on the rack of the stove top-steamer, set at a very low steam. There is, in fact, some rendering of the foie but surprisingly not all that much. The little fat that drips into the steamer can be saved by allowing the water to cool, the fat solidifies and you can remove it for other uses. This rendered fat can be used in finishing sauces, sauteing vegetables or adding a extra layer of flavor in broths.

We make a rich duck consomme and infuse maitake mushrooms to accompany the foie. I am fond of the small japanese turnips and use them to garnish this dish.

Thanks for the question.

Mike

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