Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feast of the 7, uhh 8, umm 9, make that 10 Fishes

From the "chefs can't count" dept.

When Christmas rolls into town, inevitably, among Italian-Americans, there is talk of the fabled Feast of the Seven Fishes. Folks more astute and studied on this subject have had their say, essentially to note this is an American invention with vague references to meals prepared in Southern Italian homes, notably, Campania, Calabria and Sicily. Because we Southern Italians were so doggone poor, our utilization of everything we caught infuses our culture and our DNA. Like my friend Paolo Librandi reminded me at another great meal this year in Calabria, “This is the poorest of cuisines. This food is made from things nobody in the city hungers for, wild onions, herbs, parts of animals that get discarded, skins of plants no one would think were edible. Throw away food.”

Likewise, nothing from the sea gets thrown away.

While the meal we had this week in Dallas was not likely anything that would ever be discarded, historically some of the elements were considered little more than food for poor people and animals. Chef John Tesar reanimated his memories from the Northeast, an area rich in Italian-American cultural drippings. John channeled his inner Italian with a meal, one of the best meals I have experienced in 2012 – and I have had some amazing meals this year (post coming). Special thanks to Maria for letting me know about this meal and getting our motley crew in.

Suffice to say the only thing missing from the meal (other than cod) was an occasional nod to the winemakers of Italy. And while the selections from Sommelier Sabrina Snodderly were spot-on and fabulous matches, I would occasionally lapse back on the wine trail in Italy, wondering how a particular dish would match up equally well with an Arneis, a Pecorino, a Fiano, a Verdicchio, a Franciacorta and yes my beloved Lambrusco di Sorbara. I made a note to revisit the list with Sabrina in the year 2013. Maybe even recreate an Italian wine dinner similar to the one John and his staff so lovingly created, but with an Italian wine twist.

In the meantime, while we are all still digesting our Christmas meal, take a look at the 7, no 10 courses we were served. Chef diverted a time or two from the set menu, if any of you are trying to match it up with the pictures.Happy holidays y’all!

The official "Feast of the Seven Fishes" Menu
1st - Hamachi Tartare, tomato water green onion and trout roe

2nd - Big Eye Tuna crudo concealing foie gras and toasted baguette
3rd - Butter poached Alaskan King Crab, garlic foam and black truffles
4th - Oyster and black truffle stew
5th - "Singapore Style" chili Lobster and Texas toast

6th - Arctic Char, peas, hen of the woods mushrooms and pea shoots

7th - Faux cuttlefish pasta with lemon buerre fondue, Iberico pork and osetra caviar
8th - Chilean Turbot, potato gnocchi, edamame, leeks and mustard caviar

9th - Scallops, turnips, carrots, long bean, Asian mushrooms and lobster miso dashi

10th - Squid ink pasta with clams, lemon garlic and olive oil

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to do this tasting menu...Italian wines would be fun!


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