Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Last Supper

I was at the bookstore the other day and saw a book on what chefs would like to have for their last meals, My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes. It is a great book as it gives you a look at what chefs really lie to eat. Most accomplished chefs that really like to cook complex meals really enjoy eating simple dishes that remind them of something great that has happened in their lives, be it spending time with their family, coming home from school and the smells of mom cooking a favorite beef stew or that significant trip to France where they tasted their first oyster which inspired them to become chef.

Reading the book got me into thinking about what my fa
vorite dishes and what would I like to eat for my final meal. Seems a little morbid, but I suppose it brings out the essence of what life means to you if you need to think about the most important meal in your life.

My choices would be pretty much on the simple level but by no means general. Oysters are one of my favorite joys in the world. I have traveled hours just to go to oyster festivals held in different parts of the country. There is nothing like having a fresh oyster right out of the ocean. Wellfleet, MA holds an oyster fest every year, I wouldn't say they are the absolute best oysters in the world, but they are certainly unique and I have never had them more fresh than when I went there. That said, my first course would have to be a selection of seasonally fresh oyster from around the world. Along with the oysters I would want a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

For a second course I would have to go with a seafood gumbo cooked VERY traditional
y with a rich dark roux, celery, bell pepper and onion (Creole trinity) cooked in the Cajun roux (Cajun napalm they like to call it down there as if it hits your skin it burns your skin instantly). It has got to have some tasso ham in there and probably some smoked andouille sausage as well along with some fresh shrimp, gumbo crab, whitefish and absolutely needs to have some crawfish along with some okra. It may sound complex, but in reality is is just a simple Louisiana stew. For wine I would have to pair this with a nice Alsatian Gewürztraminer, Wintzenheim from Zind-Humbrecht.

I suppose I'll toss in a salad course here. One of my absolute favorite salads is the simple French salad consisting of frisee lettuce tossed in a vinaigrette made from perhaps Banyuls vinegar along with bacon lardons and a poached egg on top. The best version I have ever had of this salad has been from Eastern Standard (the picture to the left is of their version), they also add hazelnuts to the salad which adds a nice crunch. When I make it myself I toast some medium diced bread in some high fat content butter seasoned with fleur de gris and fresh ground pepper. For wine I would have to go with the Flagstone Winery Free Run Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

Alright, now we come to the entree and a tough choice. It's a hard decision between a perfectly cooked cassoulet or a perfectly cooked medium rare rib-eye steak. I think I am actually leaning toward the rib-eye steak cooked to a perfect medium rare, seared well on the outside on a cast iron pan and crusted with a beautiful dry-rub seasoning. I'd have to pair that along with some simple roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with rosemary, thyme and olive oil and salt and pepper. For vegetable I would want some haricots verts cooked fork tender and tossed with some fines herbes. My favorite sauce is Sauce béarnaise and it needs to go with this dish. Wine would have to be a glass of Belloni Zinfandel from Ravenswood.

As for desert, I think I'd have to go with a New York style cheesecake. Dense, rich with the slight amount of dryness that French cheesecake does not have. I want my slice of cheesecake to weigh a couple lbs. if possible please. I don't need anything else with it, no strawberry sauce or sliced fruit cocktail on top. For wine I would have to go with an Inninskillin Vidal ice wine.

Can I throw in a cheese course here? Of course I can it is my last supper. If you sit me in Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA for a few hours before the executioner comes to lop off my head I would be content. I love all kinds of cheese and Formaggio Kitchen in my opinion is the only place to buy cheese in the United States. If you want good cheese in general, you goto any great restaurant in Boston and New York City and they will tell you that many, if not all of their cheeses come from Ihsan at Formaggio Kitchen. I would have to go with a selection of goat cheeses along with English cheddar from James Montgomery and the Cabot clothbound cheddar. Get me a bottle of 1999 vintage Port from Taylor Fladgate, if I have to settle for non-vintage get me a bottle of 30 year and go away, let me expire while I sip my last sip and take my last bite of cheese, the end to a perfect meal.

So there you have it, my last supper. Just let me know when my last day will be and get that together for me and I'll be a very grateful man. I think if my time hadn't come at that point, the cholesterol and what not will do me in, but again at least I'll be happy with "my last supper".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What cigar would you enjoy afer such a feast?
Hope all is well and that work brings you back to Boston for a visit soon.
- Scott S. in Boston

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