July 31, 2012

Chocolates for Stacey

Eastgate editor Stacey Mason is packing up for a long-planned stint in grad school at UC Santa Cruz. This was a great opportunity for a chocolate dinner.

The first course is a Noma classic by way of Clotilde that I’ve always wanted to try: fresh radishes, fennel fronds, and celery stalks planted in a pot of edible soil. The top layer is a salty chocolate crumble from Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook, with a subsoil of bleu d’Auvergne, fresh goat cheese, source cream, and shallots.

Chocolates for Stacey

The scallop course was terrifying because I’ve never actually made a beurre blanc before. Worse, all the advice I’d seen said that the hard part about beurre blanc is holding it, and the last time I tried to hold a Hollandaise for a party, it broke spectacularly and there was no time to fix it. And of course the scallops have to be seared at the last minute, and they will stick.

The molé, on the other hand, was wildly fussy. Every ingredient, it seems, must be separately fried, and then pulverized, seared, and then recombined. I didn’t have enough Mexican chocolate, but I subbed some bittersweet 70% Valrhona and added less sugar. My dutch oven was precisely big enough, with less than two millimeters of freeboard at the end. I kid you not.

The redoubtable Amy Ullman brought the wine. I didn’t tell her about the radish course, but she just happened to have the perfect pairing for radishes (!) in her bag. So we drank that with the flower pots, and a wonderful Chinon chenin blanc from (Les Chanteux) with the scallops, a redoubtable burgundy with the molé, and the nifty Cinedo de los Vientos Alcyone tannat for dessert.