Diver Scallops With Cava (DrinkupNY)

Diver Scallops with Cava

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererCooking with the same wines as I drink is one of the hidden secrets of culinary arts.  But what about drinking and cooking with sparkling wines? These fizzy numbers are just marvelous when woven into dishes that call for the very best in the world.  The kind of fresh (never frozen) seafood like those sold at Metropolitan Seafood in Lebanon, New Jersey.  I bet that you’ve never tasted fish like this before and when washed down with a glass of theperfectly crystalline, fizzy wine, well there is magic in each and every sip.  If you are anywhere near this part of New Jersey on any given day, except for Sunday or Monday when the Hunt’s Point Fresh Seafood Market is open, well, it’s time to ice the bubbly!I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a great deal of money on sparkling wine to enjoy a memorable bottle.  Take Spain for instance.  They make boatloads of passable fizzy wines in Spain.  However, very few are of excellent quality like the Cellar Vilafranca “Casteller” Cava Brut NV from Cataloniain Spain.  This lightly fizzy wine just screams out for thin slices of freshly harvested “Diver” Scallops that are seared in a stainless steel sauté panand then the pan is deglazed with a few splashes of the Cava and some shallots are added.  A bit of heavy cream can added be after the Cava reduces in volume. This thickness is added for depth and structure.  An ice-cold pat of butter will bring the flavors together, along with a tiny pinch of exotic saffron for color and character at the finish.

This dish is so gorgeous and opulent, it smacks of the ocean as it coats your tongue.  The charisma and the salinity of the flavors move gently down your throat and into your memories of the greatest meals of your life.  That added burst of the sparkling wine will bring you into the complexities of this dish- just how delicious it really is with wine of this quality.

Of course before I go much further, I must tell you how reasonably priced this wine is.  DrinkUpNY has it for just about fifteen dollars per bottle.  That is amazingly delicious, crisp- aromatic and very refreshing wine tastes as if lime and lemon zests have been injected into each sip.  There is salinity in the glass that gives the impressions of ocean-splashed stones and an added pinch of sea salt in every zippy sip.  Cooking with Cellar Vilafranca “Casteller” Cava is a joy because with the complex and assertive nature of the 40% Macabeo, 40% Parellada and 20% Xarello grapes, this is not your mom’s low-end “plonk” bottle of sparkling liquid that hurts you badly the next morning.

Cellar Vilafranca is really worth the few bucks you spend for something that tastes much more expensive.

Ingredients
Seared fresh, (never frozen) Diver Scallops with Saffron Sauce
1 pound Fresh Diver Scallops, Sliced into somewhat thin slices with a very sharp and narrow fish knife, you may want to put the scallops into the freezer for a few minutes for easier slicing
1-teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried Saffron in total  (A few precious Saffron threads per person are all you need)
1 teaspoon very thinly slices of shallot
¼ cup Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Sweet Butter (I never cook with salted butter, you shouldn’t either)
Pinch of freshly ground Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 oz. Cellar Vilafranca Cava (per plate and definitely more for your glass!)
Stainless Steel (preferably with a copper core) pan

Preparation:
Heat your stainless steel pan to sizzling hot, drop a bit of water in the pan to test temperature, if it jumps around and beads, the pan is hot enough

Dribble the olive oil into the pan and slide the Diver Scallop slices into the sizzling hot oil

Do not touch for 1-2 minutes- and then flip with a stainless steel fish spatula and season with a touch of sea-salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Remove medallions of the Diver Scallops from the pan and keep warm and moist.  You may want to put a hot (clean) cloth that has been lightly spritzed with salted water on them and then into the oven at around 250 degrees.  Don’t cover them?  They’ll be like pencil erasers.  Hard rubber ones!

Add the Cellar Vilafranca Cava wine to the hot pan that you just cooked the scallop slices.  It’s going to sizzle like crazy, so now would be a good time to throw in those shallot slices.  Also add the Saffron threads at this time and sweat a bit in the liquid them to reveal their inner secrets.

Add the Heavy Cream- reduce until it looks “scary” I’m telling you as a cook now, you’ll think it’s reduced enough, but please, do it some more… you’ll know when it takes on a caramelized color, the heavy cream’s sugars cooking with the shallot and the saffron. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures right here.  But it’s not done yet, take a sip of your brilliantly made Spanish Cava and contemplate.  Do I feel lucky with this sauce?  Did it break?  (I hope not)

Add the Ice Cold Butter now and whisk it in small pieces- right into the hot cream sauce… there is a term for this… but I forget what it’s called, montes? Montay? oh well.  I was once a saucier in the restaurant business a few decades ago.  I trained my entire career to learn about soups, stocks and sauces.  They used to sayin New Orleans, your sauce is supposed to coat the back of a spoon.  And I, in my infinite wisdom would say, what kind of spoon?  A soup spoon?  A wooden spoon? What?  Metal?  Silver?  Uh?  No wonder I didn’t become a better cook.  I wanted to know which one.  Any one!

Reduce a bit more and pour the sauce over the warmed Diver Scallop Medallions, you could scatter some scallion threads over the top for a white, red and green motif. If desired of course.. … get some nice crusty bread for dipping that fragrant sauce, redolent with the saline punch of the scallops with the mysterious sweetness of the saffron and the warmth of the heavy cream.  Yum is correct.

Serve on a pre-heated dish and garnish with pinwheels of lemon

Serve with an ice-cold glass of the Cellar Vilafranca Cava, open another one and chill a third, you’re going to need it to wash down this brilliant seafood and stimulate conversation…

My 1st. book, Apothecary Cocktails was translated into French!

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Artémis - Cocktails de l'apothicaire (Les)
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Cocktails de l’apothicaire (Les)BOBROW Warren

Hors collection (Vin/Cocktail)
ISBN 978-2-81600-587-5, september 2014, 14.6 x 19.7, 160 pages. (14,90 €)

Des cocktails stimulants pour guérir tous les maux !

Bénéficiant d’une histoire riche et fascinante, les cocktails thérapeutiques furent d’abord créés par des apothicaires, précurseurs de nos pharmaciens actuels. Ils préparaient des remèdes aux plantes à base d’alcool pour soigner une grande quantité de maux, de l’indigestion au banal petit rhume. Ces boissons d’autrefois constituent une intarissable source d’inspiration pour les bars branchés ou les amateurs de cocktails vintage, aux ingrédients naturels. Cocktails de l’apothicaire vous propose 75 recettes traditionnelles ou modernes de boissons fortifiantes, digestives, apaisantes ou énergisantes.

• Vous vous sentez paresseux après un repas copieux ? Sirotez un Cocktail Iberville Street. À base de plantes amères et de brandy, un cocktail réputé calmer les maux de ventre.

• Vous avez bu un verre de trop hier soir ? Le Corpse Reviver, un cocktail littéralement conçu pour réveiller un mort vous remettra sur pied en un clin d’œil.

• Vous peinez à trouver le sommeil ? Essayez le Narcotique mexicain, un mélange relaxant qui combine un chocolat chaud pimenté au mezcal et à la vanille.

Barrell Bourbon: Tasting Notes and Observations

Barrell Bourbon:Tasting Notes and Observations on Whiskey

August 30, 2014
I just received two bottles of bourbon from Tennessee.  Tennessee Bourbon you say?  What is that?  I thought all whiskey from Tennessee had a black label on it?

Well to be perfectly honest with you, so did I.  I wasn’t aware that there are Craft Spirits in Kentucky.  I know that some are working on getting the laws changed to permit Craft distilling, but I’m really not sure who they are, or if they’ve been successful.

But without that tainting my impression of the Craft Spirits industry and who makes what and where, I’d like to introduce you to Barrell Bourbon.

Barrell Bourbon is a true luxury product that you can get.

DrinkupNY has it!  http://www.drinkupny.com/Barrell_Cask_Strength_Tennessee_Straight_Bourbon_p/s0185.htm

Sitting in front of me are two bottles .

Batch #001 and Batch #002.

Barrell Bourbon link here

I’ll try to be kind to you and your thirst.  This isn’t going to be easy.

Writing about and tasting fine liquid is like describing Grand Cru wine.  Most people cannot even fathom spending hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine, much less ever given the chance to taste it.

Although Barrell Bourbon is not inexpensive, it’s not over 100 dollars per bottle either!

When a company sends me a bottle and it just isn’t available to the public, all I can do it hope that it makes you thirsty.  I do my best to guide you and help you find a bottle.

I actually had someone reach out to me the other day, who read my review on Pappy 20 Year, assuming that I had a secret in with the company to get a bottle (or more) of this highly allocated liquid.

Nope!

But Barrell Bourbon is available.  Extremely limited, but you can find it.

It’s not even noon and I’ve just taken a healthy slurp of Barrel #001.  This is Cask Strength my friends.  Rolling in at 121.6 Proof, it is straight out of the barrel.  They don’t fine pad filter this whiskey. They only use a light mesh screen to keep the larger chunks from inside the barrel out of your glass.  That’s not to say that this bourbon is crystal clear, far from, there is stuff in there.  I love spirits with a soul and Barrell Bourbon has it!

Tasting Notes:

The bottle – no you don’t taste the bottle, but bear with me… is made of fine perfume grade glass.  It’s gorgeous to the touch.  Sumptuous and smooth.  The cap is wood and real cork.  A nice touch in the world of plastic almost everything.  The label on each batch is very similar, with the only differences in the writing.

My bottle of Batch #001 reads Craft Distilled Barrel Stength.

Batch # 001, Bottle # 2384.

It goes on to read 121.6 Proof, 60.8 Alc/Vol.

Batch #002 reads Bottle # 429,  117.8 Proof, 58.9% Alc/Vol.

Batch #001 is made from a Mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley.  It’s distilled in Tennessee and aged in Kentucky for five years in freshly charred American oak barrels.  It’s bottled at full barrel strength without any artificial colors or additives.

Flavors of Earl Grey Tea reveal themselves along with sweet vanilla, dark stone fruits, salted caramels and quince-slow cooked ones at that.  The heat is ever present.  You cannot escape it, even with a few drops of Branch Water sprinkled over the top to release the flavors and inner soul of this passionate product.  The alcohol tingles on the tongue and wraps around your brain.  This is serious stuff, worthy of your finest crystal glass.  But don’t put anything other than water into it.  This would be a waste of fine liquor!

Peanut brittle expands across my tongue along with long cooked apricots and white raisins.  Pine nuts reveal themselves, enrobed in dark chocolate.  The finish is tannic and dry.  It goes on and on.  Impressive and worthy of your hard earned money.

Batch # 002 is also made from a Mash bill of: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley.  The first thing you perceive is the flavor of a grilled Reuben Sandwich on Rye bread.  Toasted rye has a very specific flavor and this is no exception.  There is a sharp cinnamon bitterness, almost like a red hot candy that pokes a hole right in the middle of your memory.  This is exceptionably memorable bourbon.  There really is nothing like it on the market.  Stone fruits and caramelized nuts reveal themselves after a few seconds along with deep flavors of Spanish Saddle leather and wet stones.  But not wet from a fresh water stream, they are slicked with the flavors of the ocean.

The slightly less alcohol *117.8- is a welcome relief after the hit of nearly 122% alcohol in Batch #001.

Both versions are memorable.  Orange marmalade and lemon curd fill your mind along with toasted rye bread and slabs of freshly smoked meats.  There are bursts of fleur de sel (sea salt) and more chocolate, but not the sweet kind, I’m talking 75% bitter.

Take little sips and bite your Reuben Sandwich,  let me know what you think!

This is bourbon on steroids! Definitely not for everyone!  No fooling!

***********************

Warren Bobrow,is the widely published author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.

His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 2014.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.

Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* – to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he’s finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

From Foodista.. Last Minute Xmas Gifts from the Cocktail Whisperer…wb.. yes.. me.

Last Minute Xmas Gifts from the Cocktail Whisperer

December 20, 2013

My bar is overflowing with lovely tastes and slurps for the holidays.  I know it’s a bit late, but you never can do everything all at once, AND I’ve been a bit busy this year!  First of all to bring  you all up to speed, I’ve just released my first book (October) named Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today.

This book, my first was published by Fair Winds Press.

Another book is coming for October 2014 that I’m very excited about.  Stay tuned.

So where do I start?  What do you want for Xmas?

Starting with rum, may I suggest Busted Barrel Rum from Fairfield, NJ?  This is gorgeous stuff, bursting with the flavors of Louisiana cane sugar molasses. 

It doesn’t need much as a mixer so don’t even think of drowning the delicate flavor in corn syrup cola.  This rum is perfect for a hot toddy, or perhaps for a few ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice.  Don’t forget the nutmeg!

From Tailwinds Distilling in Illinois, may I suggest a rum from a most unlikely place?  The Taildragger Amber Rum and the Taildragger White Rum offer bursts of cane sugar woven with tropical fruits and spices.

As with the Busted Barrel Rum, these are craft spirits, made from the best ingredients available.  I am passionate about craft spirits and these rums exemplify the care taken to ensure that each sip is memorable.  With the Busted Barrel Rum flavor profile firmly in my mind, I find the Taildragger is sumptuous and lush.

Perfect for a Great Lakes inspired Tiki Bar influence punch or with a splash or two of freshly squeezed tropical fruits or even in a hot toddy with butter and simple syrup.  Sophisticated and worldly these rums are.  They make a lesser known coffee rum, brimming with the seriously intoxicating flavors of medium roasted coffee.  I’m completely taken by this coffee flavored rum over coffee ice cream.

They also produce a Blue Agave spirit that is sold either aged or un-aged.  Not Tequila and not marked on the label as such, the Midnight Caye Silver and the Midnight Caye Rested is produced in small batches.  Seek it out, you’ll be happy that you did!

An authentic NOM 1467 CRT Tequila Blanca from Rudo Tecnico is a 100% Agave spirit that is pure, lush and colorful in every sip.  With a playful label showing the Luce Libre fighter/wrestler- Tecnico, you would almost expect this Tequila to be brash and overpowering.  But it’s anything but.  The Tecnico is soft, pure and citrus tinged.  Again, as with the rums, this tequila doesn’t need much to shine.  A squeeze of lemon, a hit of agave syrup and a splash of Arrogante Damiana in place of the usual triple sec.  I never use triple sec.  Awful stuff.  Right up there with maraschino cherries.  Ick.  Don’t do it and throw those red things out.  feh!

Get yourself a bottle of Casa Noble Tequila.  It’s just so gorgeous.   I recommend drinking it with a pinch of sea salt, a splash of Fruitations Tangerine and a finishing spritz of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink GrapefruitThree drops of Bitter End Bitters “Curry” over the top. 

For bourbon, I think you should try to find the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.  If you cannot, find the Buffalo Trace Wheated.  (It’s like Pappy, really…)  Willett’s is fun too.  Breaking and Entering Bourbon from St. George in California is Kentucky royalty, blended and bottled on the left coast.   Get some!

Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey is my go/to when I’m traveling.  I know what goes into the bottle and it’s always the very best!  I saw it in Italy!

Liqueurs?  I’m a fantatic for pürspirits Their elderflower liqueur is a thing of rare beauty and form.  The spice and blood orange a delight.  GET SOME!!!

Creams?  300 Joules may well be the best “silk” liqueur that I’ve passed through my lips this year.  They do a sumptuously decedent lemon that drips with acidity and structure, cinnamon that offers bursts of freshly scraped spices and the ginger that screams out for Scotch whisky and a bit of seltzer.

300 Joules is the truest form of craft, made with passion and care in New Jersey!  I’m a HUGE FAN.   I’m mixing 300 Joules Lemon with Campari and a bit of Barr Hill gin along with sweet Vermouth in a tip of the hat to the Negroni.  It’s a creamy Negroni that you MUST taste!

I’ve located a Maple Cream that just rocks from Vermont.  The Vermont Ice Maple Cream Liqueur is hauntingly good.  Enrobed in sweet Vermont cream and grade B Maple Syrup, this cream is perfectly geared for sipping or even woven into  adult “martinis” or a milkshake.

Vermouth is on my list for flavor this year with Uncouth Vermouth, Atsby, Channing Daughter’s VerVino and Imbue on my tasting list.

For Gin, I am drinking the experimental Barr Hill Barrel Aged Gin…  Ok, so you can’t get it, but you can buy their raw honey distilled Vodka as well as their grain based (raw honey finished) gin. 

Normally I don’t drink a whole lot of vodka.  Bluewater from the left coast always charms me, as does Karlsson’s Gold Vodka which is ACTUALLY MADE FROM POTATOES!!!

Just so you know that I read the comments on Facebook, spiced rum????  well that’s a no-brainer.  Sailor Jerry.  I love the higher proof and the true Caribbean flavor.  My absolute favorite spiced rum is not available in the United States.  It comes from the island of Saba.  They make spiced rum in a style that is sadly, nearly extinct.  A fine adaptation of the style of “spiced-rum” is available on St. Barth.  Usually it is Rhum Agricole with Caribbean-type spices.  Most restaurants make their own rhum punches… but that’s something else entirely and will require a trip to taste them.  Good idea.

 

Carpano Antica is my always go/to for a fun way to bring history into your glass!

 

If you’ve had a bit too much, FERNET BRANCA should be your GO/TO!!!  

UNDERBERG if you can get it is the miracle cure!

Syrups… Fruitations in New England with their BRILLIANT, all natural fruit syrups has become one of my favorites along with Royal Rose (the rose is a favorite) and of course Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont with their Chocolate Mole.  WOW!

Bitters:  Of course Bitter End from Santa Fe.  Bill York has got the lock-down on Curry with his India by the drop bitters.   Tuthilltown’s Bitter Frost “Basement Bitters” is part of my kit along with Joe Fee’s historically delicious bitters.  The Black Walnut is a favorite this year.

Dutch’s in New York State has a bitters kit that includes a Colonial Style, a Boomtown Style and a Prohibition Style Bitters in a handsome package.  “Drink With Conviction!” 

Whisky:  Nikka from the barrel got my attention…  Japanese Whisky that beats the Scots at their own game.  Don’t agree?  Try it.

 

Ah.. so many flavors… So little time!

 

If you want to find my book, Apothecary Cocktails, please click here… 

Apothecary Cocktails on Behance !!!

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Apothecary-Cocktails/11972133

 

What a nice surprise!!!