Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

June 3, 2010

The pinot noir from Oak Cliff was huge, juicy, cherry-y, just LARGE.  A broad canvas for medium-weight savory foods–the sous chefs and I threw poached eggs, softshell crab, scallops, pork, mushrooms, cold duck breast, and ricotta agnolotti at it before we decided to contrast its fruitiness, and to evoke the understated earthiness in its depths:  we went with a ragout of santa cruz morels and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms accompanied by seared scallops, pork belly lardons, and english peas.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish, but here is the mise en place:

Not teribbly revealing, I know, but use your imagination.

Scallops have a singular sweetness/funkiness that makes them a good centerpiece for a dish without making its direction too obvious, because they are so versatile.  They can stand up to braised pork belly but are great with lemon and olive oil.  Their use in this dish was an “otherness” that triangulated (so to speak) the pinot noir with the obvious matches of pork and mushroom ragout, and made the pairing interesting for bite after bite.

Leave a Reply