It’s not often you have a meal that is just perfect. Last Saturday, we went to friends for dinner and had just that experience.
I knew the food would be good, so deliberately went easy on my food intake for the day. We started early, as most guests had commitments watching kids’ sport the next day.
Rather than describe the house, garden, friends and conversation, all of which are worth mentioning, I will stick to a description of the food. After all, this is a food article not a gossip column. It started innocuously enough with some olive dip, crackers and cheesy bites. Delicious, but certainly a tease compared with the next offering of figs with goats’ cheese and Parma ham. Baked and then flash grilled, they were superb. French champagne and a light rose were on offer to compliment.
We then sat for main course. Already on the table was a cherry tomato, basil and baby bocconcini salad dressed with just the right amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Another vegetable salad (which I stupidly forgot to taste) and smashed baked potatoes rounded off the accompaniments. The spectacular main was a veal cotoletta. Our “hostess with the
mostest” was not to know but she served me one of my all-time favourite dishes.
Whenever I see veal cotoletta on a menu, I order it. I have cooked it many times, usually following Neil Perry’s recipe and I do fancy myself with the preparation and execution of this particular Italian specialty. None of the many I have either cooked nor eaten in a restaurant were better than that presented on Saturday night. Served simply on a plate with lemon
wedges, it was sublime. Not discourteous enough to ask for more, I savored every morsel, knowing it would end. I was,
however, rude enough to chew the bone at the table. It really was delicious.
Next was a cheese course and again, the particular “fromage du jour’ just happen to be adored by me. They were the wonderfully nutty Spanish sheep’s milk cheese Manchego and D’Affinois, the French classic soft cheese. My preference
for the cheese course is just where it was, between main course and dessert.
Although it must be said, I would eat the aforementioned cheeses for breakfast, if available. All the while an array of wines was being served by the resident sommelier (husband of said hostess, not someone who forgot to shower).
I shouldn’t joke about such important details; the wines were absolutely first rate.
There was talk of tart Tatin for pudding, but somehow the conversation and wine were flowing and it almost looked like people were happy go without. Not me.
Again, I was vulgar enough to remind our hosts of their promised sweet treat which was duly served with cream and ice cream.
Coffee with Haigh’s chocolates completed a magical meal which I will not forget in a hurry.