La Tourelle dinner and cooking demonstration

Chef Andrew Adams discusses his roasted pig
Photo courtesy of the lovely Emily.

Thanks to a tip from Jennifer Biggs’ blog, we were able to attend an excellent dinner and cooking demonstration Monday night at La Tourelle. Andrew Adams, chef de cuisine at Brushmark under Wally Joe created the dinner and provided the demonstration.

Andrew is a charismatic young chef. He chose his amuse bouche not because of its taste necessarily, but because it would be fun to do and present. Using a bit of “molecular gastronomy”, Andrew created beads of mango juice to top foie gras butter on a toasted slice of brioche. Fun though it was, the amuse was also delicious, as were the rest of his dishes.

The biggest oohs of his demonstration came when Andrew pulled a forty-pound roasted baby pig from the oven. No one else took him up on the offer to watch him break down the pig, but as soon as the fish course hit the table, we were on our way back to the kitchen. We ate our fish, sipped our wine, and chatted with Andrew’s lovely girlfriend, Emily, while he made short work of the pig right in front of us.

We are on our way to First Wednesday at Brooks Museum tonight because Andrew has us excited about returning to Brushmark. He also has us really excited about Wally Joe returning to running his own place. Hopefully we’ll hear more about that soon.

La Tourelle Menu

Amuse bouche:
Fois gras butter on toasted brioche with mango caviar
Domaine Barmes Buecher Rosenberg de Wettolsheim Pinot Gris, Alsace ’01
The mango caviar gave a bit of sweetness to cut through the intense richness of the foie gras butter. The pinot gris also brought a fruity element to balance things and made for a lovely aperitif.

Toasted beet tart with herb salad with limoncello vinaigrette
Mama Squirrel hates beets. Nana Squirrel loves them. Mama’s first words to Nana after dinner were, “I had beets, and I loved them.” That sums it up. The beets in this tart were roasted to perfect doneness. With goat cheese mornay added for extra richness, the tart was a creamy, beautiful magenta. The lemoncello vinaigrette added a nice sharpness with the herb salad.

Tapioca crusted loup de mer with parsnip puree, roasted fennel, and candied olives
Saint-Veran Domaine de la Chapelle aux Loups, Burgundy ’01
We’d never had loup de mer before. The fish proved to be light, flaky and delicious. The tapioca flour crust provided an almost fried-chicken texture with a great crunch. The fish paired well with the smoothness of the parsnip puree. While we were a little skeptical of candied olives, we shouldn’t have been. They were sweet, rich, and a great flavor addition to this course. In fact, they brought up very favorable comparisons to the black olive madelines at Manresa. The white Burgundy was a very light wine that allowed the flavors of the entree to take center stage on this course.

Roasted suckling pig with lentil soup and celery root puree
Roncier Pinot Noir, L. Tramier & Fils NV
The pig wasn’t exactly a suckling pig, but he was absolutely beautiful. A mirin/orange juice/soy sauce glaze browned him nicely and added wonderful flavor. The lentil soup was delicious and a great idea. Lentils cooked with pork stock and a bit of bacon are then pureed and cooked down a bit to make a perfect sauce for plating. The creaminess of the celery root brought out the lentils even more, and the two made very nice compliments to the richness of the pork. The pinot noir was a balanced red with an aroma of violets that paired very nicely with the rich entree.

Chocolate cake drizzled with butterscotch sauce with white chocolate mousse, pistachio sabayon, and pistachio cookies
Kiona Red Mountain Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Washington State ’03
It is clear that the chef loves desserts. His chocolate cake was both showy and scrumptious. An egg shell held the white chocolate mousse and pistachio sabayon. Not my favorite flavors, so Mama got my egg and was very happy about it. I was quite content with the dense chocolate cake and pistachio cookie. The Gewurztraminer added the perfect touch of sweetness to a very rich dessert and made for a wonderful finish to the meal.

The best (worst?) thing about food blogging is the appetite that the memory of a good meal stirs up. At least we have Brushmark to look forward to. And another of those great desserts.

La Tourelle
2146 Monroe Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 726-5771

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
1934 Poplar Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 544-6225

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2 thoughts on “La Tourelle dinner and cooking demonstration

  • March 8, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    You know, every time I’ve roasted a hog (not a baby pig), it’s involved digging a pit, staying up all night, and emerging the next day tired, haggard, covered in grease, and pulling off chunks of pork by hand.

    Your dinner looks far more elegant. 🙂

  • March 9, 2007 at 7:27 am

    It helps a lot when you have a professional chef and a large oven. Although we were just inches away as he worked on the meat, so we still did our share of dodging flying bits of pig. 🙂

    Have you seen the SFA’s documentary “Whole Hog”? Those pitmasters have the sweet setup for hog. We are planning a road trip to Lexington this Spring.

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