Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Best Dishes of 2012

Gourmet's year-end edition (it has been resuscitated as an on-line only shadow of its former self) contains responses by 53 staff members and consultants to the question: What was the best thing you ate in 2012? The responses were interesting, running the gamut from Frank Pepe's pizza to Fondue au Vieux Comté from Auberge La Petite Echelle in Rochejean, France.

I am often asked questions like that, and frankly can't remember all the restaurant meals I have eaten, even the great ones. But I do keep records of what I cook, and can list the most successful dishes I made in 2012. People also often ask what kind of food I like to cook (and eat), and I think the list demonstrates that I have pretty eclectic cooking tastes. Of course, I enjoy many other cuisines, particularly Asian, but rarely make them myself, and they are never among my greatest successes. The list also understates how often I cook Italian dishes (very).

In any event, here's the list of my best dishes of 2012:
  • Bobby Jay's corn soup, a recipe I developed myself: summer corn is my favorite food
  • Heirloom tomato salad with torn mozzarella and basil, from a recipe by Jamie Oliver: summer heirloom tomatoes are my second favorite
  • Salvatore ricotta, a wonderful creamy ricotta made in Brooklyn, from Eataly, with fleur de sel, coarsley ground pepper and Sicilian olive oil on homemade toast: not really cooked, just a wonderful bite from impeccable ingredients
  • Chicken and andouille Jambalaya, from a recipe by Ethan Stiffel
  • Caribbean roast and smoked pork chops, based on a recipe by barbeque genius Big Bob Gibson
  • Slowly oil poached garlic shrimp, tapas style, based on a recipe from Tyler Florence
  • Seared veal breast stuffed with garlic, mustard and spinach, from a recipe by Gordon Hamersley
  • Matcha macarons with white chocolate ganache, commissioned by my wife for her Japanese art gallery, for which I combined about 5 different recipes over several tries: Japanese/French fusion in a single bite
  • Mustard crusted tenderloin of pork with apple mostarda, from a recipe by Michael Chiarello
  • Golden melon gazpacho, based on a recipe from the wonderful spa Rancho Puerta: healthy but spicy and satisfying
  • Creme caramel, from a recipe from The French Slow Cooker: a perfect application for the slow cooker, wonderfully smooth and silky
  • Cherries in almond syrup with toasted almonds over homemade Greek style yogurt, from a recipe in Bon Appétit: another celebration of summer's bounty
  • Winter fruit compote with kumquats, prunes, figs and cognac, from a recipe by Laura Calder: amazingly easy but satisfyingly redolent of winter flavors
I never know where my mood (or reading or TV watching) will take me, so I am sure next year's list will be very different.

Bobby Jay

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