Then, off to the kitchen, and you teaching me lovingly, gently, (but with an appropriate amount of roughness) how to make trotter gear, so I can bring that knowledge back to Astoria, NY and share The Gospel of Fergus with all who will listen...
Our love, Fergus, is as serious and intense as Marrow Bones with Parsley Salad, goddamn it!
Well, maybe it's a little one-sided...
The poor man reacted as if I'd told him I didn't think his dick was big enough to warrant taking off my clothes.
It was an awkward moment.
He recovered, and graciously said, "Well, of course we could introduce you to Fergus!" My heart leaped, and thank Christ they didn't end up bidding on the book, because I probably would have made the publishing decision based on that alone...
Okay, I'm a fan.
Anyhow, Bon Appetit has recently replaced their editor and has undergone some serious internal woodshedding to get their "new look and focus". This was of great interest to me, as I am a WAAAY disgruntled Bon Appetit subscriber. The only reason we have a subscription at all is that it was Condé Nast's consolation prize when they discontinued Gourmet in Oct 2009. I'm still pissed about that, but I digress...
I was hopeful, in this new overhaul of BA, that they might skew the content a little more towards former Gourmet readers; A little more complex, a little less dumbed down. Fewer "Easy Weeknight Dinners in Thirteen Minutes!" recipes and maybe embrace more aspirational cooking. Right now, Saveur is the only magazine with that focus and, with the notable exception of Ian Knauer's brilliant Farm To Table blog, Bon Appetit hadn't been writing for me, or for anyone I know.
Okay, so, back to my Fergus obsession: I am now more than a little sorry that the beautiful and fantastic Margot now must learn the expanse of my love for her husband, but she had to know she was marrying GENIUS. I am sure that once she has forgiven Fergus' and my torrid, one-sided kitchen affair, she'll realize that she and I have much in common...
Radishes with Butter and Salt
Their Tops with Dijon Vinaigrette
Farm Lettuces "Disciplined" With Anchovies and Cherry Tomatoes
Butter Bean, Leek and Cauliflower Salad
Roast Sirloin of Beef
Orbs of Joy!
Potatoes with Green Sauce
Dr. Henderson's Fernet Menta Ice Cream
Big John The Butcher selected an unbelievably gorgeous top sirloin roast for me. Huge. A Big Splurge.
He also gave me all of this extra fat to cap the roast. I gave it a good rubdown with salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil. Simple is best for a cut of meat this gorgeous.
It came out crisp and crusty on the outside, and beautifully rare inside. Awesome.
Radishes came from the Union Square Greenmarket. I scrubbed and trimmed them and chilled them on ice until we were ready to serve them with soft sweet butter and kosher salt.
Still my favorite way to eat a radish. The tops weren't quite nice enough for the dijon vinaigrette so we skipped 'em.
Then there was the... Orbs of Joy. Who doesn't fall in love with a chef who calls braised whole onions ORBS OF JOY, for fuck's sake?
Karl had previously (back in April) boiled down a Guinea Hen carcass, some Quail carcasses and aromatics from a previous dinner and made a dark, rich stock.
Perfect for those onions. I added butter, thyme and cider vinegar and baked away. Even with the fantastic centerpiece of meat on the table these were the runaway hit of the evening.
Fresh cauliflower was chopped and lightly blanched, as were some frozen lima beans, and then these were chilled with capers, parsley and dressing until right before serving, when warm, blanched, salty chopped leeks were mixed in, which ultimately brought the dish nearly back to room temperature.
Loads of fresh garlic in this one - I never tire of these flavors together.
I grated a teensy bit of nutmeg, just to warm it up a bit. Divine, and neither gloopy, nor overly creamy the way a lot of the steakhouse creamed spinach ends up.
Potatoes (Yukon Golds!) were boiled simply and served with green sauce on the side - parsley, basil, tarragon, savory, with capers, anchovies, garlic, olive oil and lemon. Bright, acidic sharp flavors to the creamy potatoes.
Earlier in the week, I'd had an important meeting at a TV network. Karl was so nervous for me that he made gallons of ice cream while I was gone because it helped keep him sane.
It was Dr. Henderson's Fernet Menta ice cream from Beyond Nose To Tail -- creamy, sort of medicinal and, frankly, quite startling. People were freaking out at the pure deliciousness of it, and rightly so.
Fresh berries complimented the brilliant Ice Cream perfectly.
It reaaaaaallly felt like a Sunday - more than any Sunday Night Dinner in recent memory. Maybe it was The Roast, but maybe it wasn't just the fact that I was paying homage to a cook I admire so completely, maybe it was that our dinner was graced by two lovely ladies from the U.K. (one of whom is a beat copper in Brixton) adding to our British credibility...
All I know is that both my soul and my tastebuds were fully satisfied and that is a wonderful place to be. Thanks, Fergus.