I went to Buvette the other night for dinner, after a failed attempt to go to Wilfie’s for a drink prior. Let me say: BEST. DETOUR. EVER. Jill and I had a lot of catching up to do, but also managed to stuff our faces at the same time. It’s a skill.
We had the anchoiade, which was basically toasts with light whippy butter and anchovies. (So good.) Best dish of the night was a draw between the beets and the asparagus dishes. (So good.) Coq au vin…I never understood the hype…but now I do. Can you tell that I really, really liked this place? Finally for dessert,we split the mousse, which came in a slab, with a slab of whipped cream on top. We did that thing where we pretended to offer each other the last scrape of the plate while really coveting it for ourselves.
So the next day, with all the fantastic flavors still echoing through my head and a handy bunch of asparagus, I decided to try and capture some of its spirit for a home cooked meal.
Did you know that the thickness of an asparagus spear has nothing to do with how tough it will be? Believe me, these little guys were plenty tough at the bottom. The thickness of the spears has to do with the type of asparagus it is, as well as how old the plant is. Older plants send up thicker spears. The toughness has to do how long its been left on the plant. Fun fact. Tell your friends.
I steamed the asparagus lightly, while trying to decode the mystery of the whipped goat cheese and pickled shallots that accompanied the restaurant’s version. I had some leftover goat cheese, the Selles-sur-Cher from Murrays.
Sidebar, please. You know when do something and you know it’s going to go terribly wrong, but you either hope something magical will happen to intervene, or you are just too lazy to stop it? (Or dare I say, you secretly kind of really like a mess every once in while? Yes, we’re still talking about the cheese.)
Well, guess what happens when you whip a cheese with a white interior and an ashy green exterior? You get a color akin to Oscar the Grouch pelt. Let this not be you. Use fresh goat cheese. Whip it with a dollop of cream or a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
For the tang, I unearthed a jar of preserved lemons from the fridge, gifted to me by friend Matthew, with the attached warning to just throw it out if something seemed “off.” It was just the right amount of sparkle, minced superfine and sprinkled sparingly over the asparagus and goat cheese.
Look closely at the toast above. I haven’t told you yet but I’ve recently gotten obsessed with smoked kippers. Specifically, kippers on toast with a generous smear of butter. By smear I mean sliver. Slab. Sliver slab. Whatever. I think the word we are looking for is delicious. And yes, you smarty pants, maybe goat cheese and kippers is overkill. You would be right. If I were not wearing kipper blinders, I would have gone just butter. Or maybe butter and some soft scrambled eggs. But I have kipper blinders on. Can’t see nothing.
(Apologies and props to Buvette for being so delicious that I felt the need to bastardize the shit out of your delicious food. I meant well.)