I love the fall. The sun feels warm yet there is a certain hollowness to the rays. Step into a shadow and know winter’s on the way. Nights turn crisp, and the air smells like blackberry pie. The first freeze will soon be here, pumpkins are ripening, and I start thinking about long-cooked braises and stews, and the soul-comforting foods of autumn.
With all the rain we had in the Northwest this summer and the nice warm autumn days we have had lately I knew it wouldn’t be long before the foragers would start appearing at our door with amazing Chanterelle mushrooms. I plunge my face into them and inhale their sweet pumpkin-apricot aromas of forest and leaves.
My favorite way to serve Chanterelle mushrooms is sliced and sautéed in some butter with some chopped garlic and shallots, S + P until they are cooked and have given up some of their juices. Add some chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme. Let the juices reduce a little (especially if you add a splash of white wine and/or chicken stock) which is not necessary but will add some acidity and complexity to the sauce. At the last second swirl in some additional butter to give the sauce some body.
Check and correct seasonings. Brush some sliced La Brea Bakery country bread or rosemary bread with some olive oil and grill it until nicely charred. Then arrange on a plate with a small tuft of arugula.
If you like, add a few drops of white truffle oil which will enhance the mushroomy garlic flavor (and when I say drops –I mean with an eye dropper– otherwise the truffle oil will overpower the dish). Add some generous shavings of reggiano cheese, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over everything. And if you don’t want to go to all that trouble–come by Pacific Grill where we are serving this dish while Chanterelles are in season.
This Fall and Winter we are featuring a new oyster at Pacific Grill that I find particularly delicious. And amazingly when we order them they harvest that very day and deliver them to us a few hours after they pick them up off the beach! You cannot get fresher than that!
Served on the half shell I like them with just a squeeze of fresh lemon. We also make a mignonette sauce (white wine and champagne vinegar) with a little freshly diced horseradish root and fresh cracked pepper. Frenchman’s Point oysters owe their unique flavor to the special surroundings in which they are grown or “terroir”, [ tehr-WAHR]. Originally a word used in wine and coffee appreciation, the term is used to denote the special characteristics of geography that bestow individual unique qualities upon the food product.
Scenic Frenchman’s Point is located at the entrance to Quilcene Bay, which is located at the northern end of Hood Canal,WA near Dabob Bay in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, one of the most undeveloped bays on Hood Canal, and is bottle-necked so that with every tide change the pristine nutrients of the area flush directly over Frenchman’s Point.
The oysters are located far away from waterfront homes or other developments, and are grown on pea gravel & small rocks (not in mud) and you can definitely taste the difference. The flavor of the oysters is somewhat complex; plump and brimming with meat they have a slightly metallic overtone, finishing with sweet cucumber and a sprite brininess.
They taste like barely-held-together ocean…
Besides offering them on the half-shell, we also serve them as “Shooters” in a shot glass with citrus infused Stolichnaya vodka & cilantro.
We also roast them over a bed of rock salt perfumed with spices with our house-made pancetta and buttered crumbs.
Some of our guests prefer them deep-fried in beer batter and panko– served with house-made tartar sauce and our famous skinny fries, with olive-oil poached garlic cloves & fried herbs.
Italian for raw—crudo is a fusion dish —similar to Japanese sashimi, but with Italian/Mediterranean flavors instead of Japanese.
Recently I showed you a crudo of raw ahi tuna with Summer black truffles.
Today we are featuring a crudo of thinly sliced raw scallops with extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, cracked pepper, slivered mint & cilantro—and sprinkled with vanilla salt. [Sea salt that has been infused with a scraped Tahitian vanilla pod].
The unusual combination of flavors against the buttery richness of the raw scallops is delicious.
Like our flatbreads, the crudo changes frequently, so this particular version may not be on the menu the next time you visit Pacific Grill.
A new dish we have been featuring is Chef Ian’s Tomato “Confit”.
As you may know confit is a French word meaning “preserved” and usually is used to describe a slow cooking technique whereby a tough cut of fowl such as a duck leg or goose was cooked slowly in its own fat, and then sealed in this fat to protect it from decomposing, and could be cellared before refrigeration was invented, for many months without spoiling.
Confit can also be seen in the word confiture which tranlates as a preserve in the sense of a jam or jelly is preserved with extra sugar added to protect it also from spoilage.