Peek behind the curtain of our recent Sunday Supper…it was interesting and thought-provoking, and it was our favorite sort of work. Most importantly, this was delicious. this is the real stuffing, the way we buy wine for you and, frankly, why we get up in the morning…
Soupe au Pistou (lifted nearly directly from the Buvette cookbook by Chef Jody Williams)
Roasted Salmon and Lentils (conceptually plucked from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table but really just for the protein and starch combination)
Apple Sharlotka (Allie had LOADS of extra apples and this seemed a good way to “use them up.”)
YUM. VIBRANT. Ruby red with moderate concentration of color resolving to a watery rim in the glass as compared to the other wines. Snappy black cherry fruit with medium plus intensity…forward and flashy. A lip-smacking and delicious wine simply made for a school night. Put on a pot of split pea soup and have at it. Crusty bread is a must.
I forgot to look at the wine! I drank it first, but, let me back up. Bright ruby red color with a consistent density straight to the rim. On the palate, black cherry fruit, faint eucalyptus…but what I can’t get over is the silky texture. This Cabernet Franc invites you in to this soft and expertly crafted world of persistent and approachable richness. The finish, lasting. This stunning wine from Jacky Blot just won’t quit. Delicious.
DENSE ruby red color straight to the rim. This beguiling wine is a show off. Oak barrel fermentation and aging is not as integrated as I’d like and while I understand why this is the press darling of the bunch, it’s “too much” for me. Dominant and showy black cherry fruit, softer acidity that seems to fail to support and structure this glass of wine. I like it. A lot. I don’t love it in light of the wines to either side…
“CONCLUSION”…the bottom of the hill is what I’m drinking on a casual and thirsty Thursday. And, when I’m pulling out the stops and treating a close friend to homemade dinner, I’m going for the more integrated and restrained elegance of the crest of the hill.
The food was simple and flavorful.
For the SOUP, we followed Chef Williams’ recipe faithfully with a minor tweak here and there. Pick up a copy of her beautiful cookbook BUVETTE: THE PLEASURE OF GOOD FOOD from R. J. Julia in Madison HERE ...and then, we recommend, make an adjustment here and there as you see fit…
Specific pivots for us included:
- If you use green beans, which I strongly recommend you do, I would use French ones (that are a bit finer, sweeter, and cook a little quicker than expected) and add them very late in the cooking of this delicious dish.
- Add a rind or two of Parmesan to the boil to lend a little savory and briny backbone.
- Be liberal with the salt, cracked black pepper, and recipe pistou on service as it draws out and enhances the deep vegetable flavors without masking the rustic elegance of this wonderful recipe.
For the SALMON & LENTILS, we kind of went off on our own path but credit Dorie with reminding us about the bistro classic accompaniment of lentils with salmon.
For the Lentils:
- RINSE 16oz French green lentils (Rancho Gordo Brand!) of a high and fresh quality.
- In a saucepan, COVER with water and bring to a boil; COOK for 2 minutes
- DRAIN lentils and RINSE again
CHOP (into large rustic pieces):
- TWO stalks of celery
- FOUR carrots
- TWO onions (with a clove or two pushed into the onion flesh)*
- ADD vegetables and TWO bay leaves to the same pot along with the RE-RINSED lentils
- COVER with water and bring to a BOIL
- REDUCE heat and simmer until lentils are jusssssst tender**
- REMOVE the vegetables (and eat them as a chef snack…soft but delicious)
- TOSS warm lentils with kosher salt, ultra fine olive oil, crack black pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar
- GARNISH with chopped flat leaf parsley
For the SALMON:
- TEMPER (60+ minutes with generous kosher salt) on the counter.
- PAN FRY skin side down in a cast iron skillet (grape seed oil) until CRISPY
- FLIP and continue to sear for 2 minutes, then into the oven to
- ROAST at 400° until just firm to a gentle push (a few minutes but fewer than you expect)
- REST…serve with a squeeze of Meyer lemon and a crack of black pepper.
“Day Two” for the Wine(s):
*Thank you Dorie Greenspan!
**It is nearly impossible to pinpoint a cook time on this because of how wide the range of freshness of lentils can be; if you are using the freshest on the market (from Rancho Gordo), then this is going to run about 15 minutes whereas the AOC French kind available at fine markets and on the internet takes an additional 10 minutes. The fresher the lentil, the shorter the cook time (and you won’t know how fresh until you start seeing them cook!).