Eight years ago this March I started my first executive chef position. Not surprisingly I had a weekly dinner special there, but it was strictly fish related. At first I was nervous being so limited since I was used to a wide variety of proteins (just like now), but I ended up loving it. I really enjoyed creating the fish dishes. They were like a blank canvas. When I started at El Greco, Americana’s predecessor, I felt right at home because the menu already had a fish special listed. With the price point that I try to maintain it is hard to offer a quality, local fish but every now and then I like to splurge.
I had the chance to get my hands on some small Washington black cod – a delicious fish with a sweet, flaky flesh that is as versatile as it is tasty. I chose to roast it skin on so that it can get crispy while protecting the delicate meat from drying out at the same time. While it cooks I brown chopped cauliflower in butter – an accompaniment that I like to call “caramelized cauliflower.” Once golden brown and delicious I finish it with a healthy pinch of chives and parsley that really liven it up much more than you would expect. Finally, as a sauce, I slowly cooked leek whites and garlic in butter and extra virgin olive oil, blended it with half and half, mixed it with cooked potato and then passed it all through a fine strainer. To finish it I stirred in black truffle-infused salt and white truffle oil. The dish oozes class!
My new server, Matthew, had yet another excellent drink idea that we both felt would make a great special. He was inspired by a popular drink in Argentina – Coke and Fernet Branca (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernet_Branca) , but instead of using Coke he came up with a “cola” of his own. He shook a handmade vanilla and cardamom syrup with egg white powder, the Fernet Branca (a bartender’s drink), poured it over ice and topped it off with club soda. I wasn’t a fan of Fernet Branca, until now!!
Our other specials this week are:
Duck Flatbread with Asiago cheese, tomatoes and a cherry-balsamic puree
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
Banana and Kahlua Milkshake
This week’s Milkshake Menu choices are:
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon
Starting this Friday we will offer Oatmeal Pancakes with a Blueberry Compote (by request) and a Cherry Compote on our French toast