I kept the menu fairly Italian-themed, but since it is an American invention anyway, I didn't go too overboard. Ann wanted me to roast branzini for the main fish dish, but I decided to go with rockfish. Rockfish is running plentifully in the Bay right now with another week to go before the season closes. Because it won't be until March that rockfish opens again, and because rockfish holds up so beautifully for buffet service, I had my fish vendor send me a whole 4-pounder.
The lens for my camera is so slow that I have given up trying to shoot people indoors with it (without flash, and I don't use flash), so no people photos: they're just a waste of bits. With us were Kelley and Marco Due, Amanda and Dimitri, Bob and Mary, Mike and Dennis, Ann and Tom, and of course, Ann, me, and Carter for a nice total of 13 people.
Scallop Crudo with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Zest, Fennel Fronds, and Fleur de Sel
Baccalà and Potato Cakes with Saffron Aïoli
White Clam Pasta with Pancetta and Parsley
Squid, White Bean, and Arugula Salad
Roasted Rockfish on Fennel Lentils
Octopus in Marinara on Polenta
Mussels Steamed in Salsa Puttanesca
|Baccalà and Potato Cakes with Saffron Aïoli|
|White Clam Pasta with Pancetta and Parsley|
|Squid, White Bean, and Arugula Salad|
|Chesapeake Bay Rockfish|
|Roasted Rockfish on Fennel Lentils|
|Octopus in Marinara on Polenta|
|Mussels in Salsa Puttanesca|
Everybody brought a lot of different wine, so much that I couldn't keep track of it especially given that I was busy cooking just as everyone was arriving. I know we started with Prosecco as a cocktail with cranberry juice and with the scallop crudo, but after that things get a little fuzzy. Two of the standouts were wines that Dmitri brought, a deliciously fruity Xinomavro from Alpha Estate and a crisp, ripe, and minerally Assyrtiko that played beautifully with the scallop crudo. Had I not known that I was drinking Assyrtiko, I might have guessed Gavi di Gavi. For the Xinomavro, I might have guessed Dolcetto.
All in all, it was a great celebration with friends and family, but I am not sure that I will do it again next year. I fell asleep at 6:15pm and slept for the next 14 hours: too much work on top of a busy restaurant schedule.