Not that I need an excuse to throw an elaborate dinner party, but it’s become something of a tradition around these parts that I host a big feast in honor of my friends’ birthdays. (Sometimes, of course, the birthday parties end in blood and tears).
So for Fred’s birthday, something special was in order. We began with fresh oysters, halved radishes, bowls of salty pistachios, and local charcuterie. We moved onto a creamy purple potato dauphinoise spiked with thyme and sage. We relieved palates with a shaved fennel, dandelion greens, blood orange and chicory salad. The main event was a heaping platter of roast quail, fried in duck fat and stuffed with black cabbage and bacon. We ate them with our fingers, squirting the birds with juice from lemon wedges. Then we tackled a huge board of cheeses – most of them local Quebec products that we also feature at the restaurant. (Have you ever had the Alfred le Fermier? It’s one of my favorites, like a creamy, milky gruyere). For dessert, a leftover baked alaska pinched from work and a sweet chocolate ganache tart contributed by Seeger. There’s just something about cooking for friends… it always makes me feel great.
(Quail photo by Marc)