Is it wrong to use food as a reward? I mean, everyone has got everything these days. How do you say ‘well done’ in an extra special way? Beautiful baubles? Tantalizing tchotchkes? Nyet! Food is the answer. What says ‘I love you and thank you for being exemplary human beings’ better than Thomas Keller’s Five-Spice Roasted Lobster with Port-Poached Figs and Beurre Monté? Nothing else, really. So I set out to reward two individuals that I hold dear with a full-out extravagant gourmet feast.
Food has the ability to create a memory, to nourish and to enthrall. Every time I hold a dinner party, I’m acutely aware of the responsibilities that behooves each individual course. Will the dish fly and be a delectable mindblast? Will it be infamous and exhibit an ability to teleport guests to the land of taste bud ecstasy? Or will the dish be a bombastic flop and conjure up a torturous chorus of “…it’s not bad?”
I have found a recipe that can elevate you to the level of super-famous superhero. There will be fans and they will roar and they will bow. Monuments will be built in your likeness. But I’m not going to front. This recipe is strenuous, laborious and even toilsome. You have to remember that fame costs. And right here’s where you start paying…in sweat. Although it’s kitchen sweat, so it’s a clean sweat!
And now for the big reveal. The recipe comes courtesy of LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine 2013 Winter Issue. [As a side-note, can I get an Amen for this awe-inspiring publication? Every two months LCBO churns out a magazine worthy of the highest awards in the land. And they give it away for free. Unbelievable! Everyone I know loves this magazine. I hope it continues to be produced for all of eternity.] Ok NOW for the big reveal. Behold Breadbox Smoked Mackerel with Roasted Celery Chutney. It’s as delectable as it sounds. Toasty bread serves as a container for crème fraiche, mackerel (or in this case, smoked salmon) and celery chutney. Sweet, salty and with wonderful texture and creaminess. To my horror, the guests dismantled the bread box that I spent what seemed like weeks building, to dip and to scoop and to devour. I had thought that the box would function as a mere vessel. In the end, I suppose it was best that it be edible rather than serve as a simple prop.
This dish is utterly magnificent and could not have been possible without the genius that is Food & Drink Magazine. I hope that I have have done it justice. My guests certainly enjoyed it!
The New York Times reported recently that the price of lobster has hit a 40-year low. A combo of warm weather and good conservation techniques has led to a record lobster harvest. An abundance of inexpensive lobster is a gift that doesn’t come around too often. Why not take advantage of this lobster bounty by serving your guests a knockout dish?
Dating back to 2008, this recipe is courtesy of the always brilliant LCBO Food & Drink magazine. Lobster, mango, avocado, cilantro, mint, lime and a host of other ingredients make up Thai marinated lobster with avocado and hearts of palm. I’ve served up this recipe on a number of occasions and it has elicited infinite praise and even marriage proposals. One guest proclaimed it to be the best thing he ever ate. Try this recipe for yourself and let me know what you think.