Monday, October 29, 2012

Chef Meets Farmer Lunch with Ben Pollinger at Oceana

Chef Meets Farmer Lunch was hosted by Chef Ben Pollinger and Dennis Oyster Farm at Oceana Restaurant in midtown Manhattan on October 12th, during the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

As a seafood and fish lover, I knew going to the NYWFF oyster luncheon was going to be a treat. I for one have very little culinary experience with oysters and the event promised mouthwatering dishes.

The first dish was Marinated Oysters with citrus, cucumber and toasted spice accompanied by Chanteau D'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2011.

The second course, though not my favorite, was a tasty Oysters Pan Roast with spinach, morels and creme fraiche. According to my taste buds, this third course was divine, a hearty Fried Oyster BLT with tomato confit, heritage bacon and avocado. It was paired with a Marques de Riscasl Rioja Reserva 2006. This was luxurious comfort food at its best.

While savoring this tasty BLT our hosts from Dennis Oyster Farm, Johan and Stephanie Lowell, explained the many fine points of oyster shelling, storing, and harvesting. Somehow the fact that baking soda can put out kitchen fires was brought up, a fact I wish I'd know a few years ago when I experienced a small kitchen fiasco.

This next course was another first for me, Oyster Stuffed Quail. In the past, quail as not been on my list of poultry to try so I was a little hesitant. It surpassed my expectations as it was so tasty. The first bite was a taste of quail dipped in pumpkin and the red beans melted in my mouth. I was surprised at how succulent the quail was and how fragrant and delicious the cinnamon mole sauce was. Regarding the sauce, one person actual commented "It tastes like animal crackers".

Lastly, the dessert was oyster-inspired but Chef Jansen Chan explained that it was challenging to create. Trust me, it was a challenge not to eat it all - Cafe and Earl Grey Flavored Tapioca mixed with a cream enclosed in a dark chocolate crisp with a a creamy chocolate fudge around it. This was the absolute highlight of the meal.

Oyster Stuffed Quail

Cafe and Earl Grey Flavored Tapioca

Chef Ben Pollinger

Dennis Oyster Farm
Images by Jill Goldberry

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