Wednesday at the Barn Menu for August 3, 2011
$35 per person *Special wine pairings for this menu, add $18, Large Parties Welcome
Soft Shell Crab B.L.T. Heirloom Tomatoes, Bacon, Arugula, Saffron Aioli Wine Pairing: Azur, Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford 2010
Herb Roasted Breast & Confit Leg of California Squab Nectarine, Picholine Olive, Almond, Purslane Wine Pairing: Barndiva, Cabernet, Dry Creek Valley 2008
Vanilla Cake Salty Caramel Sauce, Housemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramelized Bananas
Tractor Bar Trio this Wednesday!
Dish of the Week:
Heirloom Gazpacho with Grilled Gulf Prawns
The lovely young man in the picture to the left is Justin Wycoff, AKA Junior, younger brother of Chef’s entremétier, Andrew Wycoff. While not the only brothers on staff at Barndiva (we are big on family here ~ Sous Chef Pancho and back waiter Joel are brothers, Jessica and Rosario sisters, garde manger Shale is my nephew), the Wycoff brothers, in addition to working their tushies off here in the Barn all week are also our dedicated gardening guys. On his day off Drewski gets down and dirty in the Quivira gardens to learn all he can about how to grow the food he loves to cook, while Junior here has undertaken care of all the herb beds in the garden behind the Studio.
But while Drew has already put in serious hard time on his culinary career, Junior arrived last fall a newly minted graduate from culinary school. As such he is the first to be assigned the most tedious, dirtiest, smelliest jobs in the kitchen. Goes with the territory. Best way to learn.
Chef let him off grunt work for a few hours this week to tease out the first steps for our Dish of the Week, which not coincidentally uses all the trim Junior saves from the dozens of heirlooms he slices his way through every day prepping our popular Heirloom Tomato, Compressed Watermelon and Mozzerella Salad. The trim, slow cooked with OO and garlic for about six hours, morphed into a thick velvety soup redolent of summer. Cooled, then passed through a fine chinoise, it was added to a purée of freshly chopped red and yellow peppers, cucumbers, fresh dill from the garden, a few squirts of Worcestershire, sherry vinegar and a small handful of our secret weapon (release the secret weapon!), a house-dried pepper mix we created after last Fall's abundant harvest. (Moral of the story: you can never grow too much of anything that can be dried).
Ryan’s Gazpacho veers from the norm by this blending of cooked and raw: the classic dish, whose original Andalusian recipe has ancient roots, traditionally uses only raw tomatoes. In marrying a slow cooked saporous tomato base to the flavors of the fresh peppers and cucumbers, Ryan creates a deep russet colored gazpacho that is light but earthy, full of bright spice, and rife with the flavors of high summer.
Chef paired this ‘King of Cold Summer Soup” with fat, wild gulf prawns he flash seared with basil stems and OO until they colored and curled at the tail, as if trying to jump out of the pan and back into the water.
To plate, a disc of green tomato was soaked in balsamic, then hidden beneath a fan of sliced avocado. The seared prawn was placed on this edible plinth, surrounded by its own little sea of gazpacho, which at the last minute Chef flecked with freshly diced heirloom tomatoes.
Shooting this dish brought home yet again how important our quest to source seafood sustainably really is. We've come a long way since we opened Barndiva and our best selling starter was deep fried shrimp from Indonesia, but we still have a ways to go. To bring our fish sourcing to the same standard we hold for land bound proteins means continually finding a compromise with diners whom have come to expect ~ and often demand ~ unsustainable diversity when it comes to seafood.
Thankfully a lot has changed since we took those Indonesian fish off the menu three years ago. We now have growing support from many customers who understand our reasons behind offering a more limited ~ but no less delicious ~ seasonal selection of seafood that respects the ocean and those who fish it. This dish is a good case in point, with prawns sourced from a newly thriving wild population in the gulf of Texas. It's a win win dish all around. Except, I guess, for the prawn.
In the Gallery:
Since the day we opened the gallery we’ve made room on our walls to carry an exquisite collection of botanical prints from Hagemann Lehrtafel. Extremely high quality reprints from the original collection of school science charts produced by the same family since they first appeared in German classrooms in 1927, they are virtually indistinguishable from the originals, printed on high quality canvas with strikingly lush black backgrounds which serve to innervate the brilliant colors of the plants. All are scientifically correct.
All Charts: 46 x 32, $245
Tulip Botany chart detail of Potato Botany Chart
detail of Anemone Botany Chart detail of Oak Botany Chart
All text Jil Hales. All photos, Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski, (unless otherwise noted)