Chef Alexander’s Course-by-Course Breakdown
We are officially ONE WEEK AWAY from our first prix-fixe week in over a year! Chef Alexander has conceptualized an absolutely amazing menu for “Primavera in Italia” and we hope you will be able to join us for one night (or two, or three…) the week of April 24th- April 28th! This four-course (multiple options), Italian inspired menu will be utilizing the best of the spring harvest which is producing a bounty of beautiful produce. As always, Chef has provided an exclusive course-by-course preview/breakdown for you to view! Look forward to seeing you next week!!!
Morel Mushroom Sformato | Crawfish, Delta Asparagus, Wild Ramps
A sformato, which is Italian for “unmolded”, is a type of savory custard or soufflé. For our version, we will start with a classic béchamel sauce that we add sautéed morel mushrooms, shallots, cream, crawfish tail meat, herbs, and eggs. It is poured into ramekins and baked in a water bath until set. After unmolding onto the plate it is garnished with a sauce made of crawfish stock(made from crawfish shells), cream, and lemon juice. We will also add a saute of asparagus, pickled ramps, and ramp leaves. Ramps are a wild onion that are foraged for a short time every spring.
Lamb Loin Carne Cruda | Fava Beans, Pecorino, Mint, Puffed Farro
Carne Cruda is Italian for raw meat. For this chilled appetizer we start with the freshest, tender California lamb loin. It will be sliced very thin in the style of “carpaccio” and dressed with imported Laudemio extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany. The lamb will be served with a salad of lightly blanched fava beans, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and shavings of Pecorino Toscano cheese. To garnish we will scatter puffed farro, an Italian grain, that we have cooked and fried in hot oil until puffed and crispy. Also, some young arugula leaves from the Carpe Vino garden will adorn the plate.
Uovo Raviolo | Egg Yolk, Nettles, Ricotta, Brown Butter
Raviolo is an over-sized ravioli and Uovo is Italian for egg. We first lay down a large square of fresh pasta. Blanched local stinging nettle leaves are pureed with fresh ricotta cheese from Bellwether Farms in Petaluma. This mixture is piped onto the pasta sheet in a large mound and a well is made in the center of the cheese mixture. Into the well a fresh egg yolk from our chickens at four tines farm is placed and another sheet of pasta is draped on top. A cutter is used to make one large raviolo. To order each ravioli is cooked until the pasta is al dente but the egg yolk is still runny on the inside. The Raviolo is sauced with a nutty brown butter sauce and 18 year old balsamic vinegar. Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano and stinging nettle flowers garnish the dish.
Shaved Snap Pea Salad |Shaved Radish, Hazelnuts, Guanciale Vinaigrette
Fresh spring Snap peas and snow peas are kept raw and shaved thinly into julienne. They will be mixed with shaved assorted radishes, toasted hazelnuts, sliced spring onion, diced guanciale, and guanciale vinaigrette. Guanciale is pork jowl that is cured and smoked similar to bacon. A vinaigrette is made with golden balsamic vinegar, shallot, olive oil, and the rendered guanciale fat. Shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano and edible flowers from the garden will garnish.
Artichoke Vellutata | Olivada, Flowering Rosemary
Vellutata is Italian for veloute. This creamy pureed soup starts with plenty of sliced spring onions, garlic, and artichoke hearts sweated together in butter. Vegetable stock, white wine, and cream are added and the soup is simmered until artichokes are cooked. The soup is then pureed, strained, and seasoned. The soup is garnished with a spoon of olivada, a condiment of crushed black olives, garlic, capers, olive oil, rosemary, and citrus zest. We will also garnish with rosemary flowers.
Braised Veal Cheeks | Risotto Milanese, English Peas, Meyer Lemon Gremolata
We haven’t strayed too far from the original in our interpretation of this classic Italian dish. Veal Osso Bucco served with risotto Milanese and gremolata is a very traditional Italian pairing. Instead of the veal shank used in osso bucco we have substituted tender, succulent braised veal cheeks. They will be braised in veal stock, white wine, and tomato along with aromatic vegetables and herbs. Glazed with a reduction of their own braising liquid, the cheeks are served on top of a creamy risotto Milanese. Risotto Milanese is a classic risotto scented with saffron which we will finish with fresh English peas, peas shoots, and mascarpone cheese. The meyer lemon gremolata that garnishes is a refreshing condiment of meyer lemon zest, garlic, fresh parsley, and olive oil
Frutti Di Mare | New Potato, Green Garlic Salsa Verde, Prosecco, Pine Nut Milk
Frutti di mare translates to “fruits of the sea” and can be prepared many different ways but refers to dishes where several different types of seafood are cooked and served together in the same dish. Our Frutti di mare is a springtime seafood stew consisting of halibut, clams, and shrimp. The seafood, along with small marble potatoes, ramp leaves, and Calabrian chile, are cooked in a broth consisting of prosecco, clam juice, and creamy but dairy-free pine nut milk. A green garlic salsa verde made of green garlic, parsley, basil, anchovy, lemon, and olive oil blended together will be spooned over the stew.
Roast Porchetta | Delta Asparagus, Spring Onion Crema, Rhubarb Mostarda
Porchetta is an Italian pork preparation where traditionally a whole small pig is deboned and stuffed with herbs and wild fennel. It is then rolled, tied and roasted on a spit over open flame. Smaller versions are also made with pork loins and bellies stuffed with the same seasonings and rolled together to make a large roast. Our porchetta we use deboned pork ribs that are seasoned and rolled together to make a large roast. The whole roll is then wrapped in applewood bacon and roasted. The spring onion crema is made from sliced spring onions slowly stewed in butter and cream. This mixture is then pureed into a creamy puree. Mostarda is an Italian condiment of candied fruit cooked in a mustard syrup and other spices. For our rhubarb mostarda, diced rhubarb is poached in sugar syrup, red wine, and mustard seeds. Once cooked pure mustard oil is mixed in. The sliced porchetta is placed on a spoonful of spring onion crema. Rhubarb mostarda garnishes the pork and grilled asparagus is served alongside.
Semolina-Olive Oil Cake | Pistachio, Mascarpone, Strawberry, 18 yr. Balsamic
This cake is a light genoiose-style cake using whole eggs, semolina flour for texture, and extra virgin olive oil for flavor. It is served with sweetened and whipped mascarpone cheese, toasted pistachios, and strawberries that have been macerated in 18 year old balsamic vinegar.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta | Rhubarb, Lavender Biscotti Crumble
A panna cotta, which means “cooked cream”, is an eggless custard using gelatin instead of egg yolks to set the mixture. Our panna cotta is a classic mixture of buttermilk, cream, sugar, and gelatin. Once the mixture is set the result is a smooth, creamy, tangy dessert. We will poach rhubarb in sugar syrup with vanilla bean and serve the panna cotta with the rhubarb and its poaching liquid poured around. For texture a lavender scented biscotti cookie is crumbled and garnished on top. Spring viola flowers will also garnish the plate.