I had a dream last night, and I want to make the meal even though I’ve never made it before. So what you’re going to get is an attempt to hammer out the details. If I ever get a job so I can afford it, I’ll actually make this. In other words, if it gives you an idea, run with it.
The meal opened with a cream of… beef? No, seriously. Heavy cream and beef broth, with something pureed in to make it beefier and thicker. If I get to try this, the first ‘something’ I’ll try will be leeks – just the whites – roughly chopped then boiled in the beef broth till soft. Hmmm, thinking about it now, beef broth isn’t enough. Beef consomme, instead – beef boiled in beef broth to make it the epitome of beefiness. No puree, just very heavy cream in roughly equal proportion to the consomme.
This was followed by a very light salad. The dominant mass was alfalfa sprouts, though there were other very fine almost threadlike edible grasses in as well. (Nothing so heavy as a bean sprout, just for reference). The dominant taste was pickled beets which had been julienned and formed perhaps a quarter of the whole. There were a few capers for accent, and it was dusted with a sharp spice that enhanced everything. Almost black pepper, but not. Cloven pepper, perhaps? Oh – cloven pepper. Add about 1 part cloves to 10 parts peppercorns in your pepper mill. By the way, don’t use a wooden mill unless you want it to be cloven pepper forevermore. Yes, I’ve done this before – it’s one reason I think of cloves as a ‘catalyst’ spice.
The main meal was main dish and two sides accompanied by a drink. Oh, I’m sure there were drinks with the soup and salad but I do not recall.
The main dish was … ok, I’m going to do this the way I’d cook it because I don’t know what to call it and do it justice. To begin, you need a large portobello mushroom cap. Clean it, and grill it to pretty much done. Do the grilling open end up because you want it to retain as much liquid as possible. For those who haven’t grilled a mushroom, light salting makes it do better in my experience. Meanwhile, soak langostinos tails and bay scallops in a lemon-butter marinade – call it equal parts of lemon juice and butter with barely enough to cover it all. Hmmm, actually, I think I’d start this marinade about 2 hours early. When the mushroom is done, lavishly distribute the meats over the top. No, don’t stack any of it, but you want at least 80% of the mushroom covered. Drizzle the marinade over the top of it all, and broil just till the seafood is hot.
The first side was spring peas. Somehow I could tell these were young and fresh from the pods. They were heated and lightly drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. Not a sweet vinaigrette – the only sugar came from the crushed raspberries.
The second side was a bulgur wheat pilaf with asparagus tips. That’s not clear enough. The tips had been carefully cut into pearls. sigh, still not clear enough. OK, picture the asparagus. Picture the tip. Now, if you think of the tip as an ear of corn on an edible cob, what happened is that the kernels have been cut off the cob. They were added to the pilaf just before plating so the heat would cook them in the short set of minutes between plating in the kitchen and serving at the table.
There were thin, crisp, warm slices of bread that had been rubbed with garlic cloves and sprinkled with just a bit of salt. No butter, no nothing else, just garlic.
The beverage was a sort of fizzy lemonade. I’d take the juice of a couple of lemons and add it to gingerale or ginger beer – not sure which right now. Add a large mulling bag filled with a marsalla spice set (cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamom just to start), and bring to a boil. Chill. Fill the glass half full of this and finish with fresh gingerale to revive the sparkle. Oh – the ice cubes were made of the spiced liquid as well. There was a bit of sweet in the back, but mostly it was wet and lemon-spicy, and it cleared the palate completely between bites and never watered down – but it was a dream.
At that point, I found myself unable to recall further. I know there was another cleanser, a dessert, and a coffee to finish. It was a meal eaten slowly while in enjoyable company and the conversation matched the meal, but I what I recall of that I do not wish to share.
The meal itself, though… Someday, I will make it and eat it and see if dreams can, at least in part, come true.