Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Evening with Jamie Kennedy at The Rossmount

Celebrating the bounty provided by land and sea and the local farmers, fishermen, and producers was the theme of An Evening with Jamie Kennedy graciously hosted by Graziella and Chris Aerni at their beautiful Rossmount Inn. Now in their 12th season, this world-class restaurant never fails to impress and this special dinner was no exception. Coinciding with the town of St. Andrews’ 3rd Annual Seafood Festival, the tickets for this dinner sold out in minutes.

Seven courses incorporated over a dozen key local ingredients that contributed to the evening’s tasting menu. We began with marinated Arctic Char from Nova Scotia as small roll-ups combined with a bit of radish root and greens. An oyster from Prince Edward Island accompanied these topped with a fresh horseradish and shallot mignonette.

A colorful taste of the sea followed as a salad comprising greens fresh from the garden and from the shore, tossed with ribbons of cured Short-Nose Sturgeon.

We then enjoyed grilled weir-caught Herring, a local delicacy we usually see only in cans. This paired with a warm potato salad tossed with fiddlehead vinaigrette was a delicate treat.

Served in its shell, the next tasting was a Sashimi Scallop with Brassica (mustard) and coriander seedlings. Tossed with a bit of orange, this was an elegant morsel.

The fifth course was a very subtle combination of jelled lobster consommé, lobster meat, a dollop of crème fresh and a dab of local Beviro Caviar.  I discovered that enjoying these ingredients individually, rather than in combination, proved to help bring out the distinctly subtle flavors, although admittedly the lobster was bland.

The apex of the seafood offerings was Halibut, perfectly poached in sunflower oil served with lovely fresh asparagus. This I could eat daily. I first had this served as an entrée several years back and found it truly exceptional. Preparing it in one’s own kitchen seems to border on magic, and tonight’s presentation was perfect.

Dessert was an intense Rhubarb soup in which rested a delicate Pavlova of meringue and macerated strawberries. What a lovely refreshing way to conclude an early summer’s evening.

The evening was a success and Jamie Kennedy brought an original twist to the food we locals have come to enjoy regularly. The notion of relying on food indigenous to one’s environs is an important one, and one for which both Jamie and Chris have established their impressive careers. The fact that two such well-respected chefs are willing to share their talents with one another so openly and freely bodes well for this food movement and for the hospitality industry as a whole. Thank you, both!