Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wild Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Wild Mushrooms and Sage

Wild Salmon is oh so good and the mushrooms and potatoes add a nice touch of earthiness. The mushrooms get slightly crispy and the potatoes are enhanced by the sage and mushroom flavors. The salmon plays up this “earthy” quality. This is a great winter meal that can be appropriate for entertaining, as it would be a dinner for one. It is also very quick and easy. I came up with the recipe as I picked up these beautiful shitake and oyster mushrooms from the NYC greenmarket.

I begin by roasting the potatoes and mushrooms. Then I make a quick marinade for the salmon and throw the salmon on top for the last minutes of cooking.

5 red potatoes (fingerlings would be great) in thick slices
2 big handfuls of assorted mushrooms (shitake and oyster in my case…but chanterelles and porcinis would be great) roughly chopped
4 large sage leaves finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400. Combine mushrooms, potatoes and sage, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a shallow roasting pan. Put in the oven. In the mean time…

1 Lemon (juiced)
2 Salmon Fillets
Dash of white wine
Dash of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the salmon in a pie pan. Pour lemon juice, white wine and olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Let stand for a few minutes

In the last 10 minutes, (if your fillets are thicker, allow more time) place the fillets on top of your roasted veggies.
For the last minute or two, place under the broil to attain a caramelized color. Be careful not to overcook the salmon, I like mine undercooked if anything.

Serve and Enjoy.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Restaurant Week: The Modern Bar Room

Restaurant week is such an exciting time: the promise of eating at fine dining establishments for a very reasonable price. Never partaken in the madness of restaurant week, I expected the worst (not because I am some pessimist, but the price seemed a little too good to be true): crappy choices on the prix fixe menu, maddening crowds, rude waiters and waitresses (not getting the usual large tips.) But I found something quite different: polite and cordial wait staff, wonderful selections and orderly customers.

Although I relish in past times, forgotten times embodied in type writers, bicycles, pre-industrial farming, record players and analog tape. I can’t help but love the MODERN. Actually, it isn’t that I can’t help it, I want to love the Modern and I do. It is one of my top restaurants. This doesn’t mean it will be yours but it is mine. WHY??
I love:
• Orchids and really awesome floral arrangements
• Pristine kitchens, glowing with shiny immaculate counters
• Restaurants inside one of my favorite museums (MOMA)
• Great cocktails: ones that have flowers in them (I like flowers)
• Really nice wait staff
• UNISEX bathrooms and beautiful sinks
• Chefs who incorporate their own culture and heritage: Merci Alsace!
• Cool utensils i.e. the silver spork
• OH did I mention, well executed, balanced and thoughtful food

But despite the chic scenester ambiance, the food is what makes me to be quite honest, drool. I would eat everything off the menu and very happily. What is great about the Modern is you choose directly off the menu, a rarity for restaurant week where choices are limited. Yes, the decision is agonizing, but I am reassured in knowing that whatever I choose will be delightful. The menu consists of small plates to be either shared or enjoyed hedonistically by yourself.
Our meal:
Alsace sausage, with homemade sourkrawt and mustard: I never knew sausage could taste like this, juicy and using great quality meat.
Upside Tuna Tarte: as aesthetically pleasing as palatable.
Duck Confit with blood orange sauce and kale with pancetta: what a great take on duck confit, the blood orange gives it a much needed citrus, while the kale supplies the earthiness.
Olive encrusted quail with barley, toasted almonds and chorizo: Spanish influenced, quail is tender and the olives didn’t overwhelm it, but added a nice salty outside.

I must highly emphasis the desserts at the Modern. Since the first time I went to the Modern, I craved their beignets. It is as if the pastry chef is connected to my taste buds.
Apple strudel with prune ice cream
Salted caramel parfait with coconut tapioca and mango sorbet
To visit: