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Friday, August 25, 2006

Five Things

I recently came across a post at The Traveler's Lunchbox, in which Melissa poses an interesting question to food bloggers around the world:   what are the top five things that you have eaten that you think everyone should taste during their lives?   The answers can be specific ingredients, products, dishes, preparations, or restaurant selections, and Melissa asks that respondents try to include at least a few local items on their lists.

Now, no person who appreciates good food could possibly limit himself or herself to identifying just five top items, so I initially dismissed this exercise as completely futile.   Yet, like Catherine over at Food Musings, I nevertheless found the question kicking around in my head over the course of several days, until I finally decided to just sit down and write this post.   I should note at the outset that I could easily identify 50 other things that are worthy of inclusion on my list, and I'm sure that as soon as I post this I will think of 50 more.   But for now, here's what I came up with:
  1. Fresh White Truffle from Alba:   There are countless ways to enjoy this indulgence, but my personal favorite is shaved over creamy risotto and then topped with sizzling brown butter and kosher salt.   I can think of no other home-cooked dish that I enjoy more.

  2. Vanilla Bean:   Take a plump, moist, pliable vanilla bean and prepare something that will allow its delicate flavor to take center stage all by itself.   For me, there's only one choice:   creme anglaise.   In a pinch, though, creme brulee can work as well.

  3. Seared Foie Gras with Brioche, Peach Jus, Tahitian Vanilla Butter (The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco):   This is one of the most brilliant dishes that I have ever tasted, in which the ingredients come together to create an indescribably delicious result.   Executive Chef Ron Siegel offers this creation only during the summer months -- which makes for very long winters.

  4. Agnolotti of Summer White Corn (The French Laundry, Yountville):   Polenta, risotto, butter, and mascarpone, mixed together and stuffed into fresh pasta.   Butter, chives, and corn juice combined into a rich sauce and spooned over the agnolotti.   And white truffle oil, fresh kernels of incredibly sweet corn, and shavings of fresh summer truffle to finish the dish.   My first taste of this Thomas Keller masterpiece back in 2004 is forever burned into my memory, and it remains one of my favorite restaurant dishes ever.

  5. Early Girl Tomatoes (from Dirty Girl Farm, Santa Cruz):   These tomatoes are unlike any that I have ever had anywhere else, and they are simply spectacular.   Flavor-packed, sweet, and delicious, Early Girls are perfect for tossing into salads, converting into soup, or eating plain with salt, fresh black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
So, there you have it -- my list of five food items that I believe everybody should taste at some point in their lives!


Blogger K & S said...

very nice list!

August 26, 2006 5:36 AM  
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Delicious choices.

August 26, 2006 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Wonderful list!

While everything on your list sounds delicious, the fresh white truffle from Alba just sounds particularly good and makes me want to rush out and try it immediately.

August 26, 2006 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Tana said...

It's a great list, and I have the same dilemma. As soon as I post my five, I will undoubtedly remember something else that "shoulda been a contenda."

For the record, it's technically "Dirty Girl Produce. (And it's just one farm.) I've got three and a half pounds of those tomatoes in my kitchen right this minute.

: D

August 28, 2006 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Tana said...

(Whoops, forgot to close my quotation marks. Would you be a dear and fix that for me? Fanx.)

August 28, 2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger NS said...

Kat & Amy: Thanks!

Julie: If you ever have the opportunity to try some fresh white truffles, definitely run - don't walk - to do so! I don't know how prevalent this is out in Baltimore, but many restaurants here offer white truffle tasting menus during the November - December season, so that's a great way to try them. You can also purchase white truffles directly through various purveyors, including D'Artagnan.

Tana: Thanks for the correction -- duly noted. (Although, I should point out that the Dirty Girl Produce website does refer to the farm as "Dirty Girl Farm.") At any rate, whatever one calls the farm, the tomatoes are spectacular!

P.S. Blogger, to my knowledge, does not enable me to edit others' comments, so I unfortunately cannot fix the quotation marks in your post!

August 30, 2006 11:23 AM  

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