The lardo in the first full course was awesome, but the little roast was the probably the featured attraction in this dinner.
I knew that using a slow oven for the second would mean a chance to relax and enjoy some cooking smells for a longer period of time than usual, but while the entree was finishing up in the oven I began to think that it might have slipped out of my control (I was afraid that I had overcooked the lamb – and even the turnips). I was working with a really very small piece of meat, but I suspected that this shoulder cut could not be cooked as rare as I would normally.
It turned out perfectly in the end. We were able to enjoy the most luscious and juicy roast lamb – and cracklings – I know I’ve ever had (it also had an excellent gamey taste, more than that to which I’m accustomed in lamb). There were also some excellent caramelized turnips, with almost-crunchy edges and seasonings which gave them a distinctive but subtle Mediterranean piquancy.
Welcome to fall.
- quartered “Easter Egg radishes” (parti-colored) from the Union Square Greenmarket, served with our favorite salt, Maldon
- warm toasts of a terrific, and very sturdy, “Wheat Italian Bread” (locally-grown organic grains, including whole spring wheat flour and organic whole winter wheat flour, sea salt, yeast, sesame seeds, egg wash) from Wild Hive Bakery covered with very thin slices of Mangalitsa heritage pork lardo from Mosefund, whose stall is in the Sunday New Amsterdam Market Downtown, sprinkled with a bit of freshly-ground black pepper and served with red dandelion leaves from the Greenmarket which had been tossed with a light lemon vinaigrette
- wine: Italian, from the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Trentino Intaglio 2008, from Eataly Wines
- a small (13 oz) rolled boneless lamb shoulder from Arcadian Pastures, first slit all over to accommodate slices of Rocambole garlic (Keith’s Farm, in the Greenmarket) and rosemary leaves, rubbed with oil and lemon juice (ideally, it should then sit in the refrigerator for hours, but not this time), seared and first slow-roasted (270 degrees F) covered, to a juicy medium or slightly more, then with the cover removed and the oven turned up to 425 degrees, browned on top, sliced and served with lemon wedges; accompanied by chunks of turnips from Bodhitree Farm, tossed in oil, Alderwood salt (from The Filling Station) and pepper, spread onto a large ceramic pan and roasted at 425 degrees, removed from the oven and tossed in a bowl with oil, minced garlic, chopped Titan parsley from the Greenmarket’s Paffenroth Gardens, lemon juice, and ground coriander seeds
- cheese and fruit: small amounts of three cheeses, a mild blue ewe’s milk, Bonneyview Farms’ Mossend Blue, purchased from Saxelby’s Cheesemongers (whose shop is located in the Essex Street Market) at the New Amsterdam Market, Bonrus; an Alta Langa Piedmontese, from Eataly, also of ewe’s milk; and a cow’s milk cheese, the Cave-Aged Cheddar of New Jersey’s Bobolink Dairy, the three served with golden raspberries from Berried Treasures
- wine: French, Domaine Mas de Martin 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc from Pasanella and Sons Vintners
Many weeks back some friends of ours in Brooklyn had invited a dozen people to share Thanksgiving with them. We were very happy to be included, but our hosts’ plans had to be canceled only days before the event because of a death in the family. Our fallback was to prepare a dinner at home. Unable to find guests at such short notice who were not already committed elsewhere, we had to re-think our favorite harvest féte as a much smaller affair than we would have preferred.
I would probably have eschewed turkey even if we had guests, but since if seemed we were going to be only two at dinner, I tried to think of an alternative which might be as appropriate as the archetypal American turkey but taste even better. I picked out a small Muscovy Duck, or Canard de Barbarie [original to South and Central America] at Ottomanelli‘s on Monday. Today, Thursday, with a few appropriate “trimmings”, it did its special magic, introducing a hint of “the wild” into a very domestic holiday.
In the end the main course at least turned out to be more French than American. But, upholding one of the traditions of the day, we did manage to have some leftovers, although the vegetables were not among them.
- a potage assembled from pumpkin, apple cider and red onion, served dribbled with cider syrup
- wine: Boyer Brut Blanc de Blancs from Sherry-Lehmann [although Eleonora Riesling Halbtrocken, from our stock of sparkling Mosels, by Christoph von Nell would probably have been better with the earthy sweetness of this dish]
- Muscovy duck [canard de Barbarie] roasted on a bed of cut-up carrots, celery and onion, with a pan sauce made from the reduced cooking juices; accompanied by turnips from Healthway Farms in the Union Square Greenmarker, braised in butter [navets à l’étuvée] and finished with drops of lemon and chopped parsley; and sauteed yellow-stem chard [bette à carde] from Lani’s Farm, also in the Greenmarket, finished with oil and lemon
- wine: a very nice Pomerol, Chateau Vray Croix de Gay [awesome name!] 2006, a terrific bargain purchased on line from K&D Wines and Spirits, in a very good Bordeaux sale
- mince pie from Windy Maples Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket, served with a dollop of Ciao Bella vanilla gelato