12 days: on the sixth day of christmas… (chang)

A field.

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When David Chang can’t find the flavors he wants – like certain soy sauces from Japan – he makes them.

Yesterday, he opened bottles and jars of what he calls “bonji” – fermented sauces – and “hozon” – fermented pastes- for us to taste.  These fermented products, made from legumes and nuts, were developed in his lab in Brooklyn.  The sauces had the color, viscosity, and meaty-saltiness of soy sauce, but each had a distinctly different base flavor, depending on the grain from which they were made.

Likewise, the hozon – fermented pastes – had all the semblance of miso, but each had a distinctly different texture (the one made from lentils, for example, had an identifiably grainy texture) and flavor (the one made from sunflower, for example, tasted like the love child of miso and sunflower butter; it was extraordinary). (Pistachio hozon?  Sounds amazing.)

Last night, on the sixth night of the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, Chang served a plate of cured mackerel – the skin seared on the plancha until charred – with puffed farro, radishes, and a hozon made from chickpeas.  He finished the dish with a few drops of farro bonji.  

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2nd Course: Mackerel

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Based on an iconic dish that he serves at his restaurant momofuku ko in New York City, last night, Chang also presented us with lychees and riesling gelée, over which he snowed an avalanche of frozen and grated duck liver.  It was surprisingly light, a refreshing mid-meal course to clear the way for the meat dishes.  The duck liver paired amazingly well with the spot of Turley Wine Cellars “Salvador Vineyard” zinfandel, 2009 that Marty Winters, one of the sommeliers at The Restaurant at Meadowood, poured for me as a fun experiment (The Salvador Vineyard zinfandel was actually paired with the next course; Kostow’s poussin dish.  The duck liver was actually paired with Turley Wine Cellars’ fantastic, rivalist white zinfandel).  

(The choice of guest vintner for this dinner was particularly meaningful, as Christina Turley, who has now returned to Napa Valley to work for her family’s vineyard, had worked for David Chang in New York City.)

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Mackerel

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One of the most soulful dishes I’ve seen during this years Twelve Days of Christmas came from Kostow’s team last night: a roulade of poussin, stuffed with chicken mousse, truffles, and cranberries, served on a bed of broken rice porridge.  John Hong, the sous chef who created the dish, finished it, table-side, with a pour of chicken broth that had been steeped with ginseng.

Kostow also served tender slices of abalone – wrapped and cooked in kelp – with grains and agretti.  Over the top of this dish, he grated cured and smoked egg yolks.

For dessert, Kostow’s team made confited persimmons in a syrup of piloncillo and served it with dduk (a type of Korean rice cake), persimmon sorbet, pecans, and a drizzle of maple syrup steeped with spicebush (to show diners what spicebush looks like, they put a stalk of spicebush in the carafes of maple syrup).  The colors, the flavors, the aroma, the sentiment: wintry, Asian.

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David Chang and Christopher Kostow

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The entire menu from David Chang’s dinner, with wine pairings by the guest vintner Turley Wine Cellars is below, along with a slideshow from the sixth day of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.  If you would like to see the photos in a larger size, click through the slideshow to the Flickr album.

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Canapés

Smoked Eel Brandade
Green apple.
(David Chang)

Beef Tartare
Fermented black bean, oat chip, fried Brussels sprouts
(David Chang)

Nuka-Fermented Baby Vegetables
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Deviled Eggs
(Ashley Christensen)

1st Course
Turnip Mushi
Caviar, fermented turnip, perilla seeds,
crispy turnip leaves.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Turley Wine Cellars “The White Coat”
California, 2010

2nd Course
Mackerel
Farro, bonji, chickpea, hozon,
puffed farro, radish.
(David Chang)

Turley Wine Cellars White Zinfandel
Napa Valley, 2012

3rd Course
Abalone Grilled in Seaweed
Black garlic, grains, agretti.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Turley Wine Cellars “Salvador Vineyard” Zinfandel
Contra Costa County, 2009

4th Course
Duck Liver
Lychee, pine nut brittle, riesling wine jelly.
(David Chang)

5th Course
Stuffed Poussin
Rice, cranberries, chestnuts, ginseng.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Turley Wine Cellars “Hayne Vineyard” Petite Syrah
Napa Valley, 1996

6th Course
Saddle of Venison
Fried sunchokes, Tuscan kale purée,
kale chips, lacto-fermented olive berry.
(David Chang)

Turley Wine Cellars “Delinquent” Zinfandel
Napa Valley, 1998

7th Course
Dduk
Spicebush, persimmon.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

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Photos: A flat of greens at The Restaurant at Meadowood’s garden at the Montessori School of St. Helena; David Chang’s cured mackerel with chickpeas hozon; cured mackerel with charred skin; and David Chang and Christopher Kostow in the kitchen at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

~ by ulterior epicure on December 14, 2013.

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