We made Mother's Day dinner at my mum's house where we can bring out fancy dishes and make these untutored French dishes look presentable.
I love oysters, but for some reason I have never gone through the trouble of buying and shucking them myself. Now I know why and it has something to do with the several slightly infected holes in my hand. Some important things I learned about shucking oysters: (1) pick out your own oysters if you can, and choose ones that have a nice gap at the hinge where an oyster knife will fit well; and (2) if you have a stubborn oyster that refuses to open, stick it in a really hot oven for a few moments and it will loosen up enough for you to finish the job (thanks Mom for that trick).
These Damariscotta River oysters were excellent with …
Green Chili and Cilantro Mignonette
- 1/3 cu. red wine vinegar;
- 1/2 of a shallot, minced;
- 1/4 to 1 tsp green serrano chili, minced;
- 1/4 tsp. sugar;
- 1 tsp lemon juice; and
- 1 tsp or so cilantro, chopped.
We found these Minton Majolica Oyster Plates in the attic of my grandmother's house and it's simply ridiculous what they sell for at auction. It's nice to have an excuse to bring them to the table.
Vegan Alternative: broiled baby eggplants—they were sort of oyster shaped.
Bourride is a French classic fish dish that involves no cream and, therefore, no abdominal cramps for me. Instead, the richness is achieved with aïoli enriched with additional egg yolks that is blended into the fish broth to create a light emulsion. There is serious garlic in this. This dish is very simple in spite of the seemingly complicated emulsion at the end. What it really all comes down to having an absolutely perfect stock. In our case, it was really hard to track down enough fish racks at the last minute to make a properly intense stock. The carcass bin at Harbor Fish is almost always dominated by salmon racks rather than with the white fish we needed. It's best to make an order for whole fish or whole racks and be sure to specify that you want the heads left on. I ended up not having enough fish bones and the stock suffered a bit for this.
Vegan Alternative: A sorrel soup, that, unfortunately, turned out more than a bit like paste. Further research is required for a good creamy sorrel soup that is vegan.
Greens from New Leaf Farm are already appearing with nasturtium blossoms in them. This was also my first experience with borage (leaves, not flowers). I wanted to like borage very much, which is cucumbery as everyone says, but I think I will leave it out of salads and try to find some better purpose for it.
Poached rhubarb with dairy free ginger ice cream. Both components are excellent, but the ginger ice cream is a keeper.
Dairy Free Ginger Ice Cream
Blend up the following ingredients and put them in your ice cream maker:
- 1/2 cu. coconut milk;
- 1 cu. soy milk;
- 1/3 package of silken tofu (about 6 0z.);
- 1/2 cu. vanilla soy yogurt;
- 1/2 cu. sugar;
- juice squeezed from the pulp of about 1 inch of ginger root, grated in a microplane; and
- a good handful or two of chopped crystallized ginger.