Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rum dinner, part deux

Last year, a rum tasting dinner at Elliott's Oyster House got me thinking about beverages other than wine to match with food. This year, Elliott's once again had a dinner with rum pairings. This year, instead of shots of rum (a challenge not only to pair with, but to drink 5-8 shots of rum and navigate the walk home) the five courses were paired with custom rum cocktails. So along with Chef Jeremy Anderson, the beverage team got into the act. With wonderful results!

First, the appetizers featured the return of "salmon candy," cured with brown sugar and Mount Gay rum and smoked. We also had oysters on the half shell with a Caribbean-style essence of salsa: mango, jalapeno, mint, and other flavors combined and juiced, then sauced on the oysters. That's one flavor I have to replicate here at home; I think it would be a great compliment to a ceviche. With this course we had a Bacardi Limon cosmopolitans and Caribbean margaritas.

Next we get a seafood "mojito" with scallops, rock shrimp, calamari, and ahi marinated in mojito. Very refreshing, and though I thought the delicacy of raw ahi was a little lost in the mix it did contribute a nice texture. The cocktail with this course was rum with blood orange juice, Grand Marnier, and sparking wine. A striking red contrast to the seafood.

Our favorite course came next: smoked black cod with a black rice cake and mango-papaya vinaigrette. The smoked cod was rich and silky, and had just the perfect touch of smoke. The chef said it only took 15-20 minutes for the black cod to take up all the smoke it needed, after marinating in ginger, coconut milk, habaneros. and rum. This course also had the best cocktail pairing: "Le Petite Fleur," with white rum, Cointreau, grapefruit, and lime served up with an orchid. Just the right tanginess to cut through the richness of the fish.
For the main course, we had something I'd never tried: veal cheeks, braised in root beer and dark rum. It was served over a sweet potato cake, with a sour cherry chutney. Somewhat leaner and not as rich as beef cheeks, but very good just the same. The cocktail? A rum Manhattan with Mount Gay Extra Old rum, Vya vermouth, and a rum-infused cherry. I really liked the cherry.
(During this course, I told Dave that I wished that ducks had cheeks -- they'd probably be terrifically good!)

Finally, individual banana tart tatins with a rum-infused ice cream. I don't know why I've never thought to make a banana tart tatin - it's a great little dessert, and there are so many tropical flavors you can then match with it. This was a nice time for "Rhuba Coffee" with Bailey's Irish Cream and Bacardi rum.
Great dinner, and this year it seemed a little easier to walk up the street and roll into bed.

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