More on gnocchi and salmon
I am so ecstatic to see that Nick is writing so much! As requested, I am adding a picture of the salmon dish from our French Laundry Day. Here it is:
A couple of words on my perspective on this dish. I have to say that this was probably my favourite dish of the whole evening, and that's against some stiff competition. Not by a lot, let's be honest, and in the midst of so many amazing dishes, it's hard to pick a winner. But this one hit a particular taste spot in me; it's definitely the kind of dish that I would make for a dinner, it has the Italian roots to it, together with the unexpected pairings and lightness that I look for in a dish, and most of all it gives the illusion of simplicity. The preparation, as Nick mentioned, is not particularly simple; as a matter of fact, when one factors in the making of the gnocchi, the brunoise (extremely finely diced turnips, carrots and leeks blanched in plenty of salted water, then dried and added to the stock) the tomato diamonds (blanch and peel tomatoes, then quarter them, cut away the seeds and ribs so you're left with a tomato petal, then cut on the diagonal to obtain several diamonds) the chive oil, the balsamic glaze (reduce 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to about 1/4 cup), the whole thing is starting to be pretty work-intensive. Not to mention warming the salmon in milk at a tightly controlled temperature. But, the thing is, once it is done and assembled and bit into, the flavors are surprisingly simple and harmonious, they just make sense, like they were supposed to be so.
All in all, it was not just a fantastic dish in itself, but more than that, since it was the official transition between the more "appetizer"-like dishes to the more "real meal"-like stuff, it marked the point at which Emeril Lagasse would have shouted: "Let's kick it up a notch!".