Wednesday at the Barn
Dish of the Week
Tasting Menu, 4th course : Caramelized Lamb Chop with Fiddlehead Ferns, Fava Beans, Morels & Spring Garlic Soubise
Our lamb this week came from Wyland Ranch in Petaluma, sourced from Ritz @ Sonoma Direct. It was grass fed, with a surprisingly mature flavor for early Spring. The secret of a caramelized crust is to heat a dry pan until the first wisp of smoke starts to rise, and only then hit it with the lamb.
First of the Fiddleheads arrived in the kitchen ~ these are local, not the prettiest we've ever seen but the season is too short for beggars to be choosers. Legend has it the best Fiddleheads grow wild in Michigan ~ a bit too far for us but we're dying to know if it's true.
Take the time to peel Favas all the way, that’s out of the pod AND skin off before blanching. A bit of sugar in the water will hold the color .
Finally, about Morels: suck it up and spend what you need to on the best you can find. They are worth it. Nothing wrong with dried but oh the fresh are where it’s at. Even if you use dried, soak and rinse these babies because they WILL have sand hidden in those crenelations that will ruin one of the most sensual mouthfuls around. Trim bottoms, cold water bath, rinse. Do it again if you're not sure.
We served this 4th course of our tasting menu with a decadent, creamy soubise of spring garlic. Very little of a sauce this rich is needed. Soubise is a variation of fondue but this one has no cheese or milk. It does have spun butter, because, well, you know.
Tommy paired one of his favorite merlots with the lamb. Paloma is a Napa winery on the summit of Spring Mountain, owned by Barbara and the late Jim Richards. With only 15 acres under vine their singular focus produces just one wine, an Estate Merlot that The Wine Spectator awarded #1 Wine of the Year in 2003 (for their '01). "They've been producing since 1994, it's a voluptuous wine, with an uncanny balance and structure that provides the framework for graceful aging." Tommy knows we don't go over the hill too often in search of great wine, but when we do, rest assured it's going to be special. The tasting menu changes every week.
In the Gallery
Beautiful, well made and functional are all things we look for ~ as consumers and vendors ~ in a fine piece of furniture. At the Studio we up the ante even more: we want to know who makes the things we sell which you will use everyday and hopefully come to love. These pieces are a case in point.
The big fellow below is named Joe Bates. We've known him since he was as old as the little fellow, his son Max. No one knew then, least of all Joe, that someday he would begin the journey to being a master craftsman. Maybe the interest in being at bomber pilot (at age 8 ) indicated an early love of steel? What he always possessed was a dogged determination to get things right, especially those things that take form under his hands. His work, whether in concrete or steel, elevates raw material to the next level; they are clean designs using processes like patination and burnishing, and finishes like specialized waxes and innovative hybrid clear coats. Working from a studio in Napa where his commission pieces can be seen at some of the highest profile wineries, hotels and restaurants in Wine Country, we have carried a range of his armoirs, bookcases, fire pits and food pyramids in Studio Barndiva since the day we opened. Bookcases and tables can also be commissioned in a variety of sizes and lengths.
Shown below: Silver Armoire in Patina'd steel and glass $4,800; above, "The Cubby" in steel $2,850. Photography for 'In the Gallery', DP Jaworski, the newest member of our team.