Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baltimore Chefs and Wine Experience

Like Salmon? You should have been at Baltimore’s Chefs and Wine Experience last weekend. Area chefs, local foodies and national celebrities gathered to eat, drink and talk about gastronomy. And salmon.

The pink, omega-3 rich fish took center stage on Benjamin Erjavec’s (Oceanaire) demonstration table, as he filleted it and prepared it three ways for an eager audience. Ted Allen served salmon (and hilarious banter) to his audience after a cooking demonstration that also included roasted chicken and a cauliflower puree debacle, spurred by a broken food processor. His wit and of course, the taste of his dishes made up for any misfortune on stage.

And the salmon de resistance – The Grand Tasting, reserved for event VIPs included whole tables and platters full of delicious smoked salmon, garnished with cipolini onions, olives, roasted tomatoes and toasted bagel chips.

A few gems of wisdom from the event (that may or may not include salmon):

-Ricotta cheese isn’t just for pasta. Nick from Piacci recommends piling into mushroom caps and topping it with roasted peppers, or blending it with spinach and parmesan cheese to add to an omelet. Piacci’s was on hand to promote their new mozzarella, provolone and parmesan cheeses. So far, the cheeses are only available in a select number of grocery stores (like Roots Market in Olney) and the company’s web site isn’t up, but when people find out how buttery Piacci’s parmesan cheese is it’ll really be in demand.

- Pesky fish bones can make or break a dish. If you’re having trouble removing them from raw filets, Chef Benjamin Erjavec recommends keeping a small pair of needle nose pliers in the kitchen. Bend the filet in half and pull the bone from the bottom with the pliers.

-Nonstick pans are great for….nonsticking, but do you miss those juicy brown bits? Ted Allen explained that nonstick pan users often miss out on those brown bits left to linger in more traditional cookware after foods are browned. The benefit of the bits? They make a delicious sauce. Next time you find yourself with bits (or glaze) at the bottom when you’re done with your pan, add a little wine or stock (and maybe some butter) stir it around and viola- a perfect topping for your meal.


Nick DeRose said...

Hi Taresa, thanks for the great plug for Piacci! I'm glad to report we have launched the product line this week and the Web site is up and running. There's a link to the list of stores that are carrying our cheese.

We'll look for more feedback on consumer reaction to our great products.

Nick DeRose, Piacci Cheese

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