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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Hors D'œuvre Dinner

un grand plat de petites choses

SADLY, last night was the last sit-down dinner I'll be having at home with David in a while; tomorrow he's leaving for Ithaca. With limited resources, I was able to put together a rather special "farewell dinner"... albeit an impromptu one.

"tuna two ways" and tomato, parsley and lemon toasts

MY first stop off the A train was at PJ Wine for a couple of bottles of wine to go along with dinner.

I knew that I wanted to pick up something special, but was on a fixed budget. I decided two nice bottles of sparkling wine (as opposed to one champagne) would be a prudent decision. The first bottle to garner my interest at PJ was the Segura Viudas brut reserva heredad (their tête de cuvée). I, for long, had waited for an appropriate occasion to warrant the purchase of this special bottle of Segura I'd once tasted in an early wine class... I'd decided the occasion was appropriate enough. 

The second bottle I selected was François Pinon brut vouvray. Not only was it one of David's favorite sparkling varietals, but also one of Eric Asimov's twenty excellent wines for $20. I simply had to get it. $40 later, I left PJ wine with what I believed to be two very nice sparkling wines.

Heading south on Broadway, I decided to stop at the local supermarket for a jar of salmon roe and some grape tomatoes. (only $12 spent there--doing well, so far, in staying within my budget) Once home, I began preparations for what I knew would be a variety of petits plats.

BEFORE I began any of the "petits plats," I trimmed several pieces of country bread into small squares upon which to place the different morsels. That step completed, I began work on my own variation of Mireille Guiliano's sardine tartines, this time, using canned tuna instead. Deftly mixing the butter, Dijon mustard, parsley and lemon with the well-drained tuna, I sculpted little balls into a round spoon to press miniature "ice cream scoopfuls" onto the squared toasts.

I thought the tuna tartines needed a bit of color...  so I topped 
two of the tartines with tomato slices

Next I took a tuna steak, crusted and fried earlier that day, and sliced four squares equal in size to the squared-off toasts. Setting them aside, I made a quick 'aioli' of mayonnaise and nước mắm lal (a Vietnamese fish sauce dressing) leftover from a going away party for David that my sister had thrown last Friday. Lastly, opening the jar of salmon roe, the second portion of my "tuna two ways" dish was nearly complete.

"tuna two ways"
poached (left) and fried (center)

The last dish I prepared (because it required dressing the bread directly with oil and lemon) was, again, my own variation of the Bromberg brothers' roasted tomato, arugula and lemon toasts from their Blue Ribbon Cookbook. My variation used parsley instead of arugula... and I skipped roasting the tomatoes. (with the warm weather, David has forbidden any daylight cooking)

DAVID was very pleased with our "petit" dinner. He was impressed with the fried tuna crostini which were "fishy in all the right ways" while I was impressed by my "poached" preparations--tuna tartines--which I found to be an elegant alternative to the typical mayonnaise-based tuna salad.

As for the wines: I must say that the Seguara "heredad" did not taste all that different (to me) than their non-reserva wines. And the François Pinon--I should reserve judgment since a proper tasting is done using a spittoon (after all, it was the second bottle we'd enjoyed). However, I absolutely loved the François Pinon sparkling vouvray! I couldn't stop talking about how much character the wine had and how it'd be a great "gift wine." But I'm going to stop there because how can one properly rate a wine after having had three glasses prior? You'll simply have to try it for yourself...
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