Scallops vs. Cheese…

Posted on 08/06/08 in Past Events, 1 Comment

It’s a toss up, but I really can’t decide which one rocked my world more.
We were all in awe of the live scallops. The shells were beautiful, and although it saddened all of us in the kitchen to steam these lovely migratory bivalves, we were anxious to taste the goodness.
We first steamed the scallops to release the adductor muscle. After the steaming, we could see that the shells popped open and the roe part was neatly wrapped around the muscle, giving the scallop a snail-like appearance. We separated the shells and placed the scallop meats in melted butter and steaming liquid to hold temperature and keep them tender.
Then we made the polenta, using some of the reserved steaming liquid broth along with butter, onions, and bell pepper. Before serving, the shell was filled with creamy polenta, then the scallop, and a splash of butter before being baked off. At plating, the shell was topped with tomato habanero salsa and radish sprouts.

Before the entree was served, Jenny Gillespie played some songs from her new album, covered some Neil Young, and also played a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody” which invoked that melancholy and sadness that hits when one is solo in a room full of dancing couples.

And then there was the cheese. This was not just any cheese, no, no, no. In fact, all of those present at dinner are now spoiled because of this cheese, and no longer waste their time tasting non-artisanal cheeses. Andy Hatch, one of the cheese makers at Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville Wisconsin, came to dinner and brought a 10 pound wheel of their Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It was very smooth and complex, nutty like a gruyere. We served some slices at room temperature to establish the baseline flavor profile. Then we served the entree, a Melange a Trois: 3 small bundles that incorporated the cheese in different combinations:

  • Thinly sliced Japanese Eggplant, Swiss Chard, and CHEESE, rolled and baked.
  • Yellow Sweet Pepper stuffed with Piedmontese Beef, Garlic, Onion, and CHEESE
  • Squash Blossom stuffed with Fava Bean puree and CHEESE

The trio was served over a lightly seasoned tomato and baby fennel sauce.

Wasn’t this supposed to be a Summer Aphrodisiac Menu?

If the cheese and scallops didn’t work, then Pastry Chef Stacey Whitney’s dessert should’ve sealed the deal. It was floral and rich: saffron infused custard with a thin burnt sugar top crust, decorated with dried local peaches, lavender caramel, and candied lilac petals.

Photos By Lorenzo Tassone

Check out more of Lorenzo’s photography: http://tassonephoto.com/Bio.html

Check out his slideshow from the dinner:


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  1. By Update-Photos: Loft Dinner 05.31.09 on 03.08.2011 at 7:02 AM

    […] dinner party was a throwback to a menu I prepared in July 2008. That was my first time working with live bay scallops but the best part of that meal was the […]

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