The first snow’s come and gone, and darkness comes early these days. The holiday market’s set up its candy-cane-striped stands in Union Square, and the Greenmarket there, pushed north to make way for holly and cider, is filled with white, glinting icily in the briskness of December: turnips and cheeses, cauliflower and fennel and cream, scallops and rice, sunchokes, potatoes, pale white asparagus.
Time for the next color dinner: a cold, creamy white to go with glittery Decembers in New York. We brought pickled herring and white fish salad — two of Dan’s most favorite dishes — from Flaum’s Appetizers in Chassidic Williamsburg, and popcorn, a 223 Devoe Street staple. We made a bowlful of celery root and potato puree scented with black truffle oil, and roasted whole heads of garlic a la Chez Panisse for spreading on crackers. We found some amazing black radishes at the market, chopped them up and dressed them with lemon zest and olive oil, for an impromptu salad.
In keeping with the colored pasta tradition, there were homemade ravioli stuffed with caramelized onions and rosemary, and topped with a super spicy white sauce made from (more) garlic, ricotta, anchovies and some chili oil we’d made the night before. There was grilled haloumi, a cuminy cauliflower salad, and a pitcherful of milk punch (like eggnog, but so much better).
And for a sweet bite, we made mini meringues, sandwiched together with a white chocolate wasabi lime cream and studded with homemade candied citrus peel. And the pièce de résistance: campfire ice cream! Homemade ice cream scented with pine needs, cedar chips and juniper berries, topped with homemade marshmallows — torched at the table!
And so, to feast!
color dinner no. 5: white
For the meringues:
We made three egg whites worth of meringue, and ended up with about 2 dozen sandwiches (s0, 4 dozen meringues.) For that amount of meringue, we made the 1/4 the amount of filling (and had some left over — this makes a lot!). The full recipe is as follows: Heat 300 grams of heavy whipping cream to just boiling, then pour this over 375 grams of Valhrona white chocolate, chopped finely. Stir until the chocolate melts. To this add 40 grams of yuzu juice and 20 grams of grated fresh wasabi, and stir to combine. (If you don’t have yuzu juice, substitute lime juice. If you don’t have fresh wasabi, add wasabi paste in small amounts until it’s to your liking, taste wise.) Put the mixture in a bowl, press cling wrap to the surface of the cream to seal well, and chill for a few hours until it’s a spreadable consistency. Sandwich the meringues together soon before you eat them, because meringue doesn’t hold up well in the fridge! (We added a bit of candied peel to each sandwich too, for an extra surprise.)