I decided to take the next few days to cook as many interesting dishes as I can, then wrap it all up on Wednesday. On Wednesday, the foie gras arrives. I felt that before I moved on I had to make Lynch's "most requested" recipe: prune-stuffed gnocchi with foie gras sauce. This is the kind of dish I reflexively skip over because it looks difficult and expensive. I hope it is worth the money. I hope it is worth the misery of the ducks.
About last night's dinner. My father had invited himself over and since it was a hot day and he's a game guy, I planned a cold meal, all of it from Stir, most of it involving serious delving. Then my maternal grandmother, who is 98, unexpectedly turned up. So it was a party, a very unlikely party given that my parents divorced 25 years ago. My camera battery conked out hence lack of pictures.
-oysters on the half shell with sparkling mignonette. At a local market yesterday, fresh oysters cost $1.19 a piece, which is less than half what you pay for oysters at a restaurant. Of course, you have to shuck them yourself which I had never done. By unfortunate coincidence, I sliced my finger while mincing the shallots for the mignonette and then had to shuck oysters with two Band-Aids and a piece of cheesecloth wrapped around my gory finger and while I am confident that no blood sullied the shellfish, the shucking took twice as long as it should have. Also, I used a butter knife. If you shuck a lot, you should definitely invest in the right shiv. The sparkling mignonette, which contains Prosecco, was fabulous and really did sparkle from the bubbles. Here's how you make it: Mix 1/2 cup Prosecco with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 2 finely chopped shallots, a generous grinding of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. If you like oysters, try this dish. I can't believe it took me so long to shuck my own.
-butcher shop steak tartare. Even though I bought quality filet mignon and used salmonella-free eggs from our chickens, recent newspaper stories cast a pall over this segment of the meal. I always order steak tartare if it's on the menu because it's something I don't make at home. Now that it's something I do make at home, I might be done with steak tartare. Did I only order it in the past because it was exotic? Lynch's recipe, which is classic, calls for chopped raw steak, raw egg yolk, mustard, capers, and chopped cornichons. It tasted fine and I ate it, but not with tremendous enthusiasm and can not explain this sudden aversion.
-toasted bread salad with tomato and cucumber. Very pretty twist on a summer standard. Halved cherry tomatoes are tossed with fennel and cucumber and served on long baguette crisps spread with olive paste and adorned with sweet roasted red onion. Lovely.
At one point, Owen was sitting on the sofa between my tiny grandmother and my father telling them about something absurd (rockets? robots?) while they all three merrily ate the oysters. I wanted so badly to take a picture of those three right there, right then. It was like my own private Halley's Comet. I'll probably never get them all in the same room again, let alone the same frame, and certainly not in that giddy oyster-slurping mood. I had to make do with a mental snapshot.
Very fun evening. No crowd I'd rather shuck oysters for.