Diver Scallop Crudo with Apple & Sorrel

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the first course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu.

I actually created this dish for Parcelle Patio and I was very happy with it so it made it to my #RontiniFriendsgiving menu. Also, when you’re a chef and when you come up with these dishes, you’re on the other side of it so to actually sit down and enjoy your own food, sitting down, plated, and with the correct wine pairing, it’s truly sensational.

Jumbo sized diver scallops were unavailable so these are actually medium sized, with Pickled Golden Beets, an Apple Sorrel Gel, and Micro Red Vein Sorrel. At Parcelle, I was garnishing them with borage flowers additionally but that too was unavailable in November.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2020

~ This is Day 258 ~

Thanksgiving Thursday has officially passed for 2020 but my Friendsgiving has not yet! This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it on Thursday because of scheduling issues. Not having it on Thanksgiving Thursday seems so weird to me and it’s happening tomorrow, the Sunday of Thanksgiving. I only just realized that I haven’t posted the menu yet. There was a sixth course but my seafood delivery was out of fresh sea urchin from Maine so I axed that dish.

Diver Scallop
Pickled Golden Beets • Apple Sorrel Gel
Micro Red Vein Sorrel
(1st course)

Duck Leg Confit
Celeriac • Hazelnuts
Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

Quail
Chanterelles • Shiitake • Market Carrots
Pearl Onions • Barley Risotto
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Pommes Dauphinoise • Caramelized Endive
Red Wine Jus
(4th course)

Grapefruit Sorbet
Kabocha • Contratto • Candied Pepitas
(5th course)

As much as I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, this “Thanksgiving” is dragging and I just want it over with already. Never doing this a Sunday again… keeping it to Thursday next year and all future years.

I know we’re all still in a pandemic and that a lot of people have been alone this holiday weekend but my friends coming are all the same friends that I’ve been seeing since the lockdown and we’ve all been careful, getting tested regularly, and also practicing safe social guidelines.

Lobster with Broccolini & Sweet Pea Soup

In the springtime and early summertime, English peas are at its best. One of my favorite things to make is this pea soup. The peas are naturally sweet and I usually serve it cold.

You can make this soup vegan/vegetarian but I find that making a great flavorful chicken stock will elevate this pea soup.

This Cold Sweet English Pea Soup is served with Lobster Claws & Knuckles, Charred Broccolini, Shaved Beets, Bronze Fennel, and Red Purslane.

Beet Salad with Citrus

Over the course of my professional culinary career, I’ve made many interpretations of this salad but I feel like this one has been the best photographed.

This Beet Salad is composed of Roasted Red Beets, Beet Purée, Orange Suprêmes, Arugula and Snow Pea Shoots dressed in a Citrus Vinaigrette, Candied Orange Zest, and White Sesame Seeds.

Arctic Char with English Pea Soup

Spring is literally the best season! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a case of sweet English pea pods in order to make soup… then I remember how painstaking the prep is… shucking peas is the most tedious task out there along with shucking fava beans and shucking chickpeas. At least peas have only one step, after blanching fava beans and fresh chickpeas, there is another step to take them out of their skins.

This is Cured Arctic Char with Marinated Salmon Roe, Shaved Golden Beets, Bronze Fennel, Radish Blossoms, served in a cold Sweet English Pea Soup.

Beet Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I am not a salad person. I have never ordered a salad in a restaurant. I didn’t understand why people loved salads – a bunch of raw vegetables (usually ones with zero or lacking of nutritional values) plopped on a plate, with an unhealthy dose of fatty dressing. Obviously, what I’m talking about are the salads from the 90s.

One of my chef instructors told me that to judge a restaurant or chef, one must order a seafood dish and/or a salad.

So, week by week, I have been creating new interesting salads (that I would eat) for the tasting menu, usually for the first or second course.

This one is a Roasted Red Beet Salad with Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, Hazelnuts, Pea Tendrils and Dragon Mizuna Greens dressed in a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.

Roasted Beet & Red Endive Salad

Remember that red beet and endive salad from Valentine’s Day? Well, it was so well received that I put it as the “salad” on the a la carte menu, with a few minor changes. It stayed on the a la carte menu for three months. Now, it’s May 31, and a new salad just replaced it… fitting with the current weather and season!

This was a Roasted Beet and Red Endive Salad, with Saffron Aïoli, Pumpernickel “Soil”, Sunflower Seeds, and Pea Tendrils.

Red Endive & Roasted Red Beets

Don’t they look like little sailboats?

I created this vegetarian salad for our special Valentine’s Day tasting menu. Since then, this salad has been on our a la carte menu with a few adjustments.

This is a Red Endive Salad with Roasted Red Beets, Saffron Aïoli, Pumpernickel “Soil”, Sunflower Seeds, and Micro Bull’s Blood Beet Greens.