Friends of James Beard Benefit

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On Tuesday, July 16, River Oaks hosted a benefit dinner for the James Beard Scholarship Foundation. All those who attended got to enjoy a wonderful evening of fabulous cuisine by some of our best local chefs. Every course was beautifully prepared and paired with a wonderful selection of wines. It was truly a fitting menu to honor one of America’s culinary legends.

Hors d’oeuvre provided by Clay Lichterman, formerly of Grill 83
Ginger and Lemon Pickled Halibut

Tender bite-sized cubes of halibut with a delicate flavor of ginger and lemon that enhanced the creamy texture of the fish without overpowering its natural sweetness.

Kumamoto Oyster and Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho “Shot”

A succulent oyster floating in a perfect swallow of spicy, rich chilled soup.

Kobe Beef, Braised Short Rib and Foie Gras Slider with Tomato and Red Onion Marmalade

An absolutely decadent rendition of a hamburger with a lightly tangy condiment to offset the richness of the meat.

Caesar Salad Mousse with Micro Bacon and Crispy Bits

A delicate mousse of anchovies, cream and Parmesan paired with salty and crispy bacon and crouton bits.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Brut, Reims-France
Caymus Conundrum, California, 2006

First Course provided by Wally Joe of the Brushmark Restaurant at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Crudo of Hamachi and Tuna with Avocado Panna Cotta and Tomato Oil
SA Prum Reisling Kabinett, Germany, 2007

A beautifully simple preparation of two perfect varieties of tuna paired with both yellow and red tomato coulis served with a creamy and rich scoop of avocado panna cotta to provide a delicious counterpoint to the fish.

Second Course provided by Rick Farmer of Jarrett’s
Pan Roasted Roulade of Alaskan Halibut, Wild King Salmon and Dungeness Crab on Seafood Risotto with Tomato Fondue and Fresh Basil
Merryvale Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2006

The fish and crab melted together into a beautiful roll of pink and white sitting atop a delicately flavored yellow risotto with bright red and green swathes that tasted as wonderful as they looked.

Third Course provided by Ben Vaughn of River Oaks
Roasted Quail and Foie Gras with Red Onion Marmalade, Pain Perdu and Pancetta Crisp
Belle Glos “Meiomi”, Pinot Noire, Sonoma Coast, 2006

Sweet, rich pain perdu topped with sticky sharp onion, salty pancetta, melting foie gras and savory quail that was a perfect balance of flavor and texture.

Fourth Course provided by Erling Jensen of Erling Jensen the Restaurant
Lightly Smoked Kobe Loin, Marrow Flan and Summer Greens with Lingon Berry Vinaigrette and Cabernet Reduction
Caymus “Special Select” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005

Rare, smoky Kobe beef over creamy marrow custard with the richness counterpointed by the bright tartness of the vinaigrette and dark notes of the Cabernet.

Dessert Course provided by Jason Severs of Bari
Sweet Tomato Tortaloni with Reggiano Parmesan Gelato

A tiny pastry filled with sweet tomato and topped with a dollop of sharply cheesy gelato for a surprisingly less sweet touch that created a well paired cheese plate all in one bite.

Local Strawberry and Black Pepper Torta with Balsamic Gelato

Sweet strawberry with just a touch of pepper topped with rich, sweet-tart balsamic gelato.

Gorgonzola Cremaficato and Pear Torta with Basil Gelato

A tart filled with sharp, creamy cheese and sweetly melting pears beautifully matched with herbal basil to cleanse the palate.

King Estate, Vin Glace, Oregon, 2006

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Martha Foose on WYPL Book Talk