Firing up a post-prandial cigar may no longer be allowed in Washington D.C. restaurants, but an eclectic chef has found a way to bring smoke to the table in a very intriguing way.
Chef Enzo Fargione of Teatro Goldini has created a branzino carpaccio appetizer brought to the table in a cigar box. When the box is opened, smoke emerges thanks to a tea candle plate filled with burning apple wood chips. The wood imparts just a bit of smoky flavor to the fish, which is presented with a citrus dressing, blood oranges, morel or porcini mushrooms (depending on the season), pea and corn shoots, micro greens, fleur de sel, cracked pepper and a crispy garlic chip.
"I'm a lover of cigars, and I had all these empty [cigar] boxes at home," said the chef. "I figured, let me do something very nice and different."
Chef Fargione slices the Italian branzino very thin, prepares the accoutrements, places them on a plate within the cigar box alongside the smaller plate of wood chips, lights the chips on fire, then closes the wooden cigar box. "You wait exactly four minutes," he says, "then take it to the table."
The smoke doesn't add much flavor to the meat - smoking a fish typically takes one hour, says the chef - but when opened at the table it creates a wonderful aroma that stays with the diner and enhances the experience of eating the dish. "A little bit of the taste of the smoke stays in the air, at the table, in your nose," he says.
The dish has proven extremely popular, and chef Fargione says the complaints he initially feared never came to pass. "That was my first worry - that people would ask for a fire extinguisher, but everybody has been so excited."
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Source: Cigar Aficionado