IF there had not been a recent thread on scandinavian food, or the lack of it in our area, then I would have normally not bother commented on this luncheon.
On Saturday, I attended a luncheon featuring recipes from Kitchen of Light: The New Scandinavian Cooking by Andreas Viestad, a companion to a PBS series to air in the fall. Chef John Coletta at Carluccis in Rosemont prepared the menu.
Porcini Crusted Ahi Tuna with "Peperonata" and Shaved Celery Salad Chilled Spring Asparagus Soup with Umbrian Truffles
"Culatello" with homemade Black Peppered Bread Sticks
-- 2000 Haberlehof Pinot Bianco Alois Lageder
Crab Cocktail with Dill and Mint
-- 2000 Pinot Grigio Russiz Superiore
Mussels with Aquavit, Cream and Tarragon
-- 2001 Molamatta Marco Felluga
Pan-Seared Cod with Garlic Potato Puree
-- 2000 Dolcetto Monte Aribaldo Marchesi di Gresy
Crunchy Almond Brittle Ice Cream
-- 2001 La Serra Moscato D Asti
The chilled asparagus soup was served in little wine glasses, was quite refreshing. The truffles were decorative but who knows what they contributed to the taste of the overall product. The black peppered bread sticks had prosciutto type ham wrapped around it. The silky saltiness of the ham, the crunchy texture and black pepper really was a wonderful combination of taste and texture.
Crab cocktail in a cream sauce with dill and mint was a nice departure from horseradishy cocktail sauce. I was fortunate to have a companion who didnt like crab, so I luckily had a double dose.
Mussels were the only disappointing dish. Principally because the mussels had been steamed in advance, chilled, thus had a dry appearance and mouth-feel. Freshly made, this was likely a much better dish.
Pan Seared Cod was cooked with its skin on, which I noticed all my companions lifted off their portion and put aside. IF it were not for the skin, there would not have been much contrast between the fish and the potatoes. Cod being rather bland benefited greatly by being paired with the garlic potatoes. Again, my companion didnt like fish, so I was the lucky double dipper!
It was here, I noticed there really wasnt much in the way of vegetables on this menu. If you avoided the asparagus soup and didnt eat the mint, then there were no vegetables. Not a big deal, just an observation.
Crunchy almond brittle ice cream reminded me of a certain fish stew party earlier this year. This ice cream is supposed to be a classic Norwegian dessert. I liked it better than the french version I attempted. The artisinal biscotti was softer than most biscotti. Fresher than most, maybe they didnt do the second baking to dry it out for the characteristic biscotti crunch. The sparkling dessert wine served with this course was fruity perfection.
You will note each course was paired with a wine. They served maybe half glass portions, so by the end of the meal you had consumed maybe 2.5 glasses of wine. Since I dont drink very much, I really appreciated their pacing. It just doesnt take much for me to feel light headed; yet I never felt anywhere near light-headedness and had the experience of tasting every wine. Otherwise, I might have had to stop mid-meal.
Unfortunately, since this meal was so off-menu. It isnt likely to be experienced again unless I am willing to do it myself.