Private Dinner Party @therealpickygourmet’s Home
A reader demanded to see what the real picky gourmet cooks at home. Being male and also blessed with a naturally high level of testosterone, competition is something which is automatically taken very seriously. Taking a day off to shop and cook, after numerous nights at a bar of figuring out the menu, was needed to come up with the ingredients for a dinner to impress. The menu included European Crayfish. Now looking for only the freshest ingredients, implies buying them alive and cooking them yourself. Obtaining these in Zurich proved a bit tricky, some of the so called finer fishmongers couldn’t do it (eg http://www.der-frisch-fisch.ch/), but finally Globus proved to be worth the money. The tension level rose in the kitchen, after removing the lid off the box, the sedated crayfish regained conscience and started squirming like crazy in the box. It felt like being the Sorcerer’s apprentice and only with great will power was it possible to restore order by separating the very active crayfish from each other, virtually prying them apart. The first dish was Saibling fish on pea mousse with fish supreme and some trout caviar. The next dish was Crayfish ravioli with chanterelles in a light crayfish broth. Both dishes were taken out of a magazine called Gourmetreise and a letter of recommendation was sent to the Editor in chief. Seldomly have I seen such sloppy recipes (eg I made a fish farce for one of the dishes, which was on the ingredients list, but was never actually mentioned in the recipe again) demanding such complicated and complex plating techniques. But the worst part was, that a fall magazine is actually using things like peas which are just about 6 months out of season. Up next was a scallop on a brioche toast, served with a serran ham chip and a light hollandaise. The piece de resistance was a foie gras creme brulee (and there Globus is nuts by charging an obscene 560 CHF / kg), served with some fresh tarragon. The dessert course was a home made chocolate Luxemburgerli (Swiss version of a Macaron) and Fior di Latte Ice Cream. Now how did I do ? My plating technique and skill is about as refined as that of a prison inmate slopping mashed potatoes onto his other colleagues tray/plate combination. In terms of taste I did okay, while not measuring up to be part of the Bocuse d’Or, it was advanced home cooking. What I really liked about the menu, was that it had a nice progression, clean flavours and the foie gras creme brulee was a great way of moving from the savoury to the sweet part of the menu. The thing I learned – if you add up the cost of the raw materials, add the 15 hours of work spent cooking, cleaning and shopping, only a few restaurants in Zurich are more expensive than dining at the real picky gourmet’s home. The ingredients alone weighed in at roughly 400 CHF.