Pig. Pig. Pig.
What a holy animal.
Last night was the first night of the 2nd annual Swine & Wine Dinner at Andrew/Michael Italian Kitchen. Snout to tail was definitely the theme of the 7 course meal....& every single bite was incredibly delicious. So deftly seasoned & presented in a very straight forward way. Chefs Michael Hudman & Andrew Ticer displayed outstanding technique with every single plate. It takes a lot of technique to prepare certain cuts of meat in not only interesting way but a delicious way. What I really loved was that they didn't bury the pig with too much of one thing or another. Their technique & preparation highlighted & enhanced the wonderfully earthy pork flavor. And why shouldn't they have? The pig was a pasture raised Berkshire breed from Newman Farms in Missouri.
First course: Porchetta of pig head, pork conserva, fried headcheese. Everything was tender & perfectly seasoned. Delicious. We paired this course with Falesco Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone 2008. Past vintages of this wine that I've tasted I've thought were insipid quite honestly. However, this vintage is crisp & bright with a luscious citrus note.
The next course that my iphone took a decent enough picture of was: Lardo wrapped shrimp, confit of pork tongue with pickled fennel & squid ink vinaigrette. This course was paired with Prunotto "Fiulot" Barbera d'Asti 2007. Nice grip, bright cranberry fruit, hints of herb & heightened acidity.
Up next was a braised & seared pork belly with hazelnut raviolo stuffed with farm fresh egg yolk that was barely poached so it was perfectly creamy & runny. I love egg so much. Egg & pork belly with the unctuous & creamy richness of hazelnut puree was simply heaven. This we paired with Valle Reale Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006. The wine was bold enough to stand up to the rich belly but also had razor sharp acid to cut through the fat of the belly & luscious egg with hazelnut.
Final course: smoked ham hock panna cotta with fig preserves & cinnamon-sugar pork rinds. Rich, smoky with an undertone of pork flavor. It was sweet without being cloying & paired very nicely with Argiolas Perdera Isola dei Nuraghi 2007. The wine added this note of spice that amped up the earthy undertones of the dessert.
I'm sorry that I wasn't able to post pictures of the other three courses but the photos just didn't turn out. Trust me. Next time Andrew-Michael does a Swine & Wine dinner book early to make sure you have a spot!
Dateline/Los Angeles: American Chefs Adopt a Peruvian Staple: Tiger’s Milk - Leche de tigre powers a tuna dish at Son of a Gun in Los Angeles.
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