Sunday, June 24, 2007

Basque Dinner at CanCan

CanCan hosted a Basque Wine Dinner on June 21. As always, Bob Talcott, the wine director, kept the evening interesting with wine facts and the facilitation of a food and wine discussion after each course.

Basque Wine Dinner

Hors D’Oeuvres

Chilled Mussels
Tarragon Aioli

Tuna Tartare
Lemon Jam and Potato Chip

Oysters on the Halfshell
Lime Mignonette

2005 Tursan VDQS “Haute Carte”, Les Vignerons Landais

1st Course

Spicy Poached Shrimp
Piperade and Basil Beurre Blanc

2005 Jurancon Sec, Domaine Castera

2nd Course

Roast Squab
Pequillo Pepper and Caper Ragout and Orange Scented Jus

2004 Irouleguy Rouge “Ohitza”, Domaine Brana

3rd Course

Roast Lamb Loin
Pickled Tomato, Salsify, and Paprika Hollandaise

2004 Irouleguy Rouge, Domaine Brana

We loved the mussels. They were tiny and sweet, and we also enjoyed the tuna on the housemade waffle potato chip. The Tursan had a slight bite, but seemed to lose all taste with the food. For the 1st course the accompaniments really made the dish. The shrimp by themselves did not have much flavor and did not exhibit any spiciness. But the piperade – roasted red bell peppers and onions - had the missing heat and spice which was soothed by the basil beurre blanc. Once again, the white wine became lost in the flavors of the dish. The squab, served medium rare, was quite tasty, and the caper ragout added another dimension to the presentation. The red wine stood up to the food. Very tasty. The lamb was surprisingly edible for me (I am not a fan of lamb) and the paprika hollandaise was unusual, but very good. This course also contained a small amount of arugula with rosy peppercorns. The most unusual part of the dish was the pickled tomato – much more pickle flavor than tomato flavor. Given all of these dichotic ingredients, how would a wine pair? To CanCan’s credit the wine paired well with everything. Dark in color, full-bodied, smooth tasting. It was definitely a good choice with the lamb and the rosy peppercorns, but this wine also held its own with the pickled tomato.

Once again, an enjoyable evening. The one criticism at our table was the portion sizes. It seemed like they were even smaller portions than the last time, and we joked about where to go to dinner after our wine dinner. We were seated with wonderful dining companions – Pat, Mike, Carol, and Shoe regaled us with tales of the Midi Canal, Portugal, and the Loire Valley in between our discussions of the wine and food.

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