After a couple months of passionately talking ourselves out of rabbit farming, Joan and I consoled ourselves by having a little dinner party. What better salve for our crushed leporine ambitions? What better relief from the endless blast furnace that early June served up? What better way to celebrate an old friendship rekindled?
Gravlax with Cucumber Sorbet and Mustard Dill Sorbet
Duck Breast with Fresh Watermelon and Arugula
Ramerino en Culo and Pickled Beets, Radishes and Snap Peas
Parsnip Fettucini with Salmon and Tobiko Roes
Fish Soup in a Jar
Chocolate Pizzelle with Curry Sorbet and Grapefruit Pernod Sorbet
Making Gravlax is a simple affair. One leaves work early to go to ones favorite fishmonger to pick up a perfectly prepared 2.3 lb Atlantic salmon fillet (the belly cut, skin on) packed on ice. Then quickly home to the fridge. Then off to the Harlem Speakeasy for a night of live big band music in an apartment akin to a sauna. Then home again to cure the salmon with sugar, salt, pepper and fresh dill. On the air conditioner it sits overnight because “room temperature” in the rest of the apartment is about 95˚F. Then into the fridge for about a day and half. Done.
Meanwhile one should buy an ice cream maker. Learning how to use it should commence only after all the other duties of the day are completed–between the hours of 11PM and 2AM is a good time to set aside.
Luckily the duck breasts were cured two weeks ago before the heatwave. But don’t forget to make the pickled veggies while churning your sorbets.
Pack the results of your labor in a big yellow straw basket and the red shopping bag. Realize it’s crazy to transport the watermelon one bought downtown back downtown from Harlem. Stand on two 110˚F subway platforms worrying about your frozen treasures til finally they are in Joan’s freezer an hour later.
The rest is easy: fish in the jars, parsnip in ribbons, meat tartarred. All with the amiable help of Joan.
Soon enough our guests arrive and the pouring of the champagne and prosecco begins.