dish of the summer
thinking back on our instant of summer, the dish i ate most (at a restaurant, that is – pagliacci pizza and oatmeal don’t count) was surely chipolatas maison grilles et ses choux-fleurs rôtis at le pichet (unless it was the oeufs plats…)
i ate it outside, while sitting on a hard chair, while the sun struggles to make it through the first avenue foliage and onto my blinding white shoulders. i ate them at an inside table as a part of a long sunday afternoon brunch, while a little band played in the corner of the restaurant. and (at least ten times) i ate them late night at the bar with a martini, after a long friday or saturday night shift.
chipolata sausages originate in italy (or was it mexico? the internet isn’t sure). what is known is that they’re loved at france, often fried and glazed in madeira. they’re generally on the smaller side, pork, and well-spiced. i can’t help but picture ruddy vineyard workers going after a plate of them after a chilly, gray day spent among the pinot noir. i can say with certainty that they do a good job of helping me forget a night of taking care of people who are “allergic to salt”.
i’m always particularly drawn to cauliflower when i see it on the menu. i find a natural sweet and butteriness to it that suits me very well. it just so happens that roasted cauliflower (choux-fleurs rôties) is exactly what is needed to both handle some of the fat in the chipolatas and provide some fibrous crunch. its caramel tinged edges don’t hurt, either.
like much of jim drohman’s food, the dish is largely composed of shades of brown, with no superficial sprig of green or drizzle of colored oil. what does create some contrast in this dish – and also acts as a glorious bridge between all the other flavors – is the saffron aioli. not only is it pale goldfish, but it’s exotic flavor and eggy richness are enough to make you want to just dip bread in it.
i’m not sure if the chipolatas are still on the menu. it’s october, the weather couldn’t be more un-summerlike, and now i’m turning to cream based soups and paté.