Sunday, November 16, 2008

Phish Food

Rolling into the kitchen early on Friday evening, I wanted to get a head start on the spicy caponata. There’s a lot of ingredients to prep and gather including Japanese eggplant, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, tomato paste, pine nuts, anchovies, currants, basil and spices to bring this medley of flavors to life.

Once the caponata is in the works I like to multi-task and get the smoky shallot sauce together – something I’ve made already so I can do it without really thinking. Tonight it was my turn to take a back seat and let Spencer and Ashley push out the orders for bass and tuna. I assist both of them in any way they need, getting hot plates from the warmer to saucing the dish.

The seared tuna and scallop is presented with a squid sauce made from carrots, onion, tomato paste, white wine, green peppercorns, vegetable stock and of course squid. The thought of a squid sauce makes my taste buds quiver a bit thinking how can that be good?

Making the sauce is rather easy – all the aromatics are sweated along with the rings of squid for about an hour. After that the sauce is pureed to achieve that saucy finish. Tasting it, I realize it’s not a flavor profile that I enjoy but my job is to make it taste as best as possible – now that’s a tall order.

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