If 27-year old Taylor Thornhill, the new chef de cuisine at Mistral Kitchen, could pick just three things to keep on the menu, one of them would be raw or cured fish (find out what his other two picks are in part two of Grillaxin). While geoduck isn't technically a fish, it's one of Thornhill's favorite dishes, which reflects not only his love for Spanish cuisine, but his respect for the natural flavors of ingredients. It's also a very unfussy dish, something he gives his old mentor at Sitka & Spruce props for.
"When I first started out," says Thornhill, "people like Johnathan Sundstrom (from Lark) were very influential and continue to be. And then popping up were chefs like Jason Wilson from Crush doing very finessed food and definitely taking a page from restaurants like the French Laundry. Now, I think people like Matt Dillon are very influential as far as taking a step back and offering something a little bit different, more product-driven, and less manipulation of the food."
If you've got some truffle shavings lying around and a knack for shelling bivalves, give this recipe a shot!
Raw Geoduck With Serrano Ham, Green Apple, Lamb's Lettuce, and Truffle
12 paper-thin slices of serrano ham
1 green apple (julienned)
1 medium shallot (minced)
apple cider or sherry vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
small handful of lamb's lettuce (washed)
truffle shavings and their juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
3. Cut the shell away from the geoduck and remove the large sac that resides
in the shell.
4. Plunge the geoduck into the boiling water for 30 seconds and place in the ice bath to cool. Remove the membrane from the geoduck.
5. Slice the geoduck as thinly as possible and place in a bowl.
6. Mince the shallot and add to the geoduck. Season with salt, pepper, a few drops of vinegar, olive oil and the truffle shavings.
To serve, arrange ham in a circle on four plates. Mound the geoduck salad in the middle of the ham. Toss the lamb's lettuce and green apple with the remaining vinaigrette from the geoduck and place on top of the geoduck. Enjoy!