My weekend got off to a less-than-auspicious start, owing to train delays and missed connections. We had planned to meet friends for Indian food and an 8:30 showing of Food, Inc. at the Avon, but by the time I finally got home, it was late and I was in no mood. Enter Mike to the rescue, chilled Martini in hand. We had takeout.
The rest of the weekend shaped up much better than I could have imagined, with the arrival of many things we’ve been waiting for – the first of the season peaches, squash blossoms, and probably most exciting of all:
Yes, it’s a chicken. But this is no ordinary bird. Pat told us a while back that, in addition to his usual tasty chickens, he was raising a heritage breed called the Poulet Rouge. They were finally available at the Hope Street farmers’ market on Saturday, and we were thrilled to bring one home.
Kathleen Purvis has a good primer in Gourmet on what makes these birds different than your standard breeds, so if you’re curious you can read about it there; I’m here to tell you that as far as the flavor goes, we were wowed.
We wanted to keep the prep and cooking as simple as possible so we could really taste the difference, so Mike just salted it, cut it “leaping frog” style, and grilled it. I made one of my favorite grilled bread salads to go alongside, with peaches, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. The chicken was the star, though – intensely flavorful, rich and juicy, noticeably moreso than regular varieties. I expect a Poulet Rouge would hold up really well in the smoker, and we’re both itching to try coq au vin or riesling with one of these birds when cooler weather rolls around. Try one – you’ll be hooked.
And then there was Sunday. A big cooking day.
Behold: grilled pizza perfection. Post will be up this week.
A little muddled basil made our gin & tonics extra tasty.
It’s just not summer until I’ve made fried squash blossoms. I still make mine the way Derrick instructed, dipping the stuffed blossoms in flour, then buttermilk, then flour again, and while this is still my go-to breading method, I have my eye on Anita’s version.
This time, however, I served the squash blossoms with some sliced heirloom tomatoes, a chilled basil custard, and a scattering of arugula and opal basil leaves. Did I mention I like colorful plates?
Speaking of color, our pre-dinner cocktail was as delicious as it was bright and beautiful. Who knew tequila and Campari would marry so well?
The grand finale, and grand it was. We grabbed the last piece of Summer Snow from Matt‘s table at the farmers’ market, and he recommended pairing it with gooseberries. We grabbed some from City Farm, and finished out our weekend with this cheese and fruit course. It was pretty damn brilliant.
(As always, click the photos for a little more detail.)