Friday, September 28, 2012

brasstacks dinner

Monday night was my first Brasstacks dinner. I mentioned Brasstacks about two months ago here and won the lottery last month when I found out I had the chance to go to one of these legendary dinners. On Monday, Brasstacks held their last summer harvest dinner at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, where all items were local and mostly recently foraged by the chefs themselves. I headed over, giddy, grinning, and nervous...I had no idea how many people would be there, how many courses there would be, what should I wear? So many questions, so much excitement. 

T & I headed over to Formaggio was dark, almost abandoned looking on the outside. We knocked...there was a pause...and then we were greeted and brought into a transformed space exuding warmth, acceptance, excitement, and friendliness (and immediately handed 2 glasses of sparkling wine mmmmm). There were 3 tables with about 10 seats each. Tightly squeezed in to promote conversation & perfectly positioned to see plating and preparing of each dish. We headed up to pick from the charcuterie and stared at everything in amazement, while our pre-meal treats waiting patiently for us.


The Formaggio Kitchen charcuterie consisted of linguica, chicken liver mousse, duck pate, served with Brasstacks pickles. Next we were introduced to our treats (from back left-right-front in the top picture): grilled cousa squash with sprouted grains, fennel & almond (my favorite); baked hyslop crabapple with chicken liver, cider vinegar & poppy seed; roasted new potato with cultured cream, shad roe & salt pork; and in front, the tomatoes with pickled chilis, elderflower vinegar & mint (T's favorite). Also shown are the tasty snack of the husk cherries roasted in salt pork. All were presented on natural plates of slabs of birch branches and stones.

Next, we moved onto the first course (all of which were paired with a respective wine): soused bluefish with cucumbers, horseradish & pretty nasturtium.


Next was my favorite dish of the night, I could really eat a large portion of this every day and never get sick of it: sweet corn samp with Maine crab, bayberry leaf, sea urchin and samphire. Pretty much perfection in a bowl.

Woven between the courses were explanations and derivations of the plates, all drawing inspiration from old New England fare and techniques. Also woven in were the seemingly endless glasses of wine. Next was the matelote of Spanish mackerel with eggplant, barley & tomato relish.


The final savory course of the evening was my almost-tied-for-first (and T's favorite) course of silver Cornish chicken roasted in wild juniper with chicken mushroom, fermented broccoli & a bread sauce. Also, it was obviously one of the prettiest dishes.


The local cheese course was provided by Formaggio Kitchen, and was delicious, because really...who doesn't love cheese? Brebis Blanche, Tarentaise, and Brother's Walk. Obviously not the best picture because I was too excited to get started.

The final course was the Maine chocolate potato cake with sheep milk, wild grapes & black walnut. While being plated, it resembled Saturn and I had no problem finishing this dish whatsoever.


After a long & memorable night, we were stuffed full of wine, tasty food, and new information. We were introduced to many new foraged foods and interesting people. For professional pictures taken of the event check their facebook page... and remember, if you want to be entered into the lottery for a chance to go to one of these amazing dinners, friend Brasstacks Boston on Facebook, you will thank me 2,723 times if you win.

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