On the fifth of the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, Christopher Kostow gave to me Jason Franey of the storied restaurant Canlis in Seattle.
Kostow and Franey first met in the kitchen at Campton Place in San Francisco, where both cooked under then-executive chef Daniel Humm. Franey moved on with Humm to cook at Eleven Madison Park, before taking up his current post at Canlis, where he was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs last year (2011).
Last night, Franey and Kostow were reunited in one kitchen at Meadowood Napa Valley, where they cooked an eight course menu paired with wines from Colgin Cellars.
My favorite dish from Franey’s side of the menu was his first, a single, raw oyster set in a Champagne gelatin and peeking through a layer of baked potato and leek panna cotta. The bowl was garnished with caviar, Champagne foam, and a dash of freshly grated kaffir lime zest. With the tartness of the Champagne gelatin and the perfume of the kaffir lime cutting through the creamy custard, it was a bright and refreshing start to dinner.
Franey’s crab salad, with crisp dices of celery and apple, was also light and refreshing. This was a fairly straightforward dish, but presented elegantly: a ball of crab salad topped with black truffle shavings and set on a milky apple-celery soup. It looked just as pretty as it tasted.
On Kostow’s side of the menu, I loved the aged duck, a juicy strip of breast meat garnished with super-sweet, super-ripe nuggets of persimmons, strips of “duck ham,” and tender slices of baby turnips. Together, with a touch of maple syrup, it was a picture of autumn.
For dessert, Daniel Ryan, the pastry chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood put chocolate, quince, and potato on one plate to great effect. This collection of flavors and textures included small melon balls of poached quince; a length of creamy milk chocolate cremeux; crispy, sugared potato skins; and potato-vanilla crème anglais churned into ice cream. The strange and wonderful thing about this dessert is that it made me realize how close chocolate and potato are in flavor, both having a sweet earthiness about them. It’s one of my favorite desserts from this Twelve Days of Christmas dinner series so far.
You’ll find the entire menu from last night’s Twelve Days of Christmas dinner with Jason Franey, and a slideshow of the dinner below.
Baked Potato-Leek Panna Cotta
Oyster, Champagne, caviar, kaffir lime.
Shaved raw chestnuts, smoked chestnuts,
brook trout roe, and clover.
Apple, celery, truffle.
Matsutake, wakame, and pork “dashi.”
Persimmon, maple turnip puree,
duck ham, and carrot tops.
Beets, chocolate, salsify.
White chocolate, coconut.
Quince, potato ice cream.
2009 Camille Giroud, Corton Charlemagne
2005 Colgin “IX Estate” Napa Valley Red Wine
2005 Colgin “Cariad” Napa Valley Red Wine
2004 Colgin “IX Estate” Syrah
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