• Chef Marc Jones: Pairing Monterey Bistro with Love

    by Richard Oh

    I enjoy food and wine pairings immensely. I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the best chefs of Monterey County to Los Angeles, serving from four course small plates to six course four-hour dinners. I’m fortunate enough to be able to taste the food and know which wine to pair it with. It truly is amazing when you find the right combination — food and wine alone are great but the correct pairing is magnificent.

    I love showing and sharing people this aspect of my life. So today I like to share three recipes from Chef Marc Jones. We came up with a three course pairing that you can do at home.

    We’ll start off with a fruit salad with mixed greens. Marc tries to use local produce and other local ingredients whenever possible. Chef Marc recently opened Bistro Monterey located within the Hotel Abrego. The hotel went through a complete transformation from the ground up. It’s a new property with a historic feel. The restaurant seats about 50 and is open daily for breakfast and dinner.

    We paired the salad with the Otter Cove Chardonnay. It’s a very nice way to start your dining experience.

    Fruit salad with an apple cinnamon vinaigrette

    • 1 bag of Salinas mixed green
    • 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar
    • ¼ cup of olive oil
    • 10ea cherry tomatoes sliced
    • ½ teaspoon of minced garlic
    • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
    • Salt n pepper
    • ½ Granny Smith apple sliced or cubed
    • 3 ea sliced strawberries or other fruit (handful)
    • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan

    Slice apple and keep in a can of 7up or Sprite and put to the side. The soda will preserve the color of the apple until serving. In large mixing bowl whisk apple vinegar, oil, garlic, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss dressing with greens, add fruits. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

    richard

    The second course is a baked salmon paired with Otter Cove Pinot Noir. It’s baked in parchment paper, which seals in the juiciness and flavors of the salmon. It’s a great way to keep the salmon moist so it doesn’t dry out.

    Salmon en papillote with basil oil

    • 1 salmon filet
    • 2 cups of fresh veggies (small veggies like
    • sliced carrots, asparagus, cherry tomatoes,
    • sliced Brussels sprouts)
    • ½ cup of fresh basil
    • 1 small cube of butter
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil
    • Salt n pepper to taste
    • 1 piece of parchment paper ½ sheet pan size

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Place parchment lengthwise on a cutting board.

    Place veggies equivalent to size of salmon filet on the parchment paper about 1/3 up on the parchment paper. This will act as a bed for the salmon. Place the filet on the veggies. For the basil oil puree the basil and oil in a mixer or use an emulsion blender. The longer the oil sits the better it gets. You can make the oil the day before. Place the cube of butter on the filet and drizzle the basil oil over the top. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

    Fold the parchment paper once from the bottom over the salmon and veggies so the top corners of the paper meet. Next, fold the paper from the left or right at an angle so the first fold goes along the meat and veggies at a right angle. Keep folding about a half-inch all the way around and fold the parchment paper under at the other end. The final product should look like a calzone. Make sure you have a tight fold.

    Place the papillote on a sheet pan and bake for 8-12 minutes. When the bag looks like a blowfish it is ready. Place on a plate, carefully slice open lengthwise and enjoy!

    richard2

    The third course is the pumpkin soufflé paired with Maestral Wein der Eisbox, Riesling, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County. It’s basically ice wine — first of its kind from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is a classic-styled wine made from Alsatian and German Riesling from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is a single vineyard from Tondre Grapefields. It has riped peaches and honey on the nose. You’ll get peaches, apricots, honeysuckle, bright acid with a nice long syrupy finish. The residual sugar is 21.3 percent so it’s a very sweet wine. It is considered ice wine when the grapes are picked frozen from the vines. Since it doesn’t get that cold in Santa Lucia Highlands, Dan Tudor, Winemaker, freezes them post harvest. They were picked when the grapes reached 27.6 percent sugar. Typically only healthy enough grapes survive later in the year to freeze on the vine. This is what gives ice wine that refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity characteristic. The sugars don’t freeze but the water content in the grapes do. This allows for more concentrated grape must to be pressed off which results in smaller more intense very sweet wine. Ice wines: It’s a great pairing with heavier desserts.

    Pumpkin Soufflé

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
    • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
    • ½ cup of brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
    • 2 egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon cream of Tatar
    • Half cup of cream
    • 1/3 teaspoon of pumpkin spice

    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Butter or oil four oven safe cups. Coffee cups work fine or equivalent size baking cups, set aside. Use dry mixing bowl and whisk egg whites, pumpkin spice and tartar until eggs are stiff and peak. In another bowl mix cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin puree, nutmeg, cream and egg yolks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into thepumpkin mix and place equally into bowls. Last, add the remainder of the egg whites to the top of the cups.

    Place on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Do not open the oven to check! Check at exactly 30 minutes and if they have risen and are lightly browned on the top remove and eat right away.

    richard 3

    A little more about Bistro Monterey: Chef Marc’s menu will change seasonally and he feels this should be an industry standard and not a trend. He uses what is available in the produce and seafood world currently. He will not ask for ingredients from his suppliers to build a menu but ask what is in abundance from the local land and sea to determine what his menu will be that day, week or month. It will always be three to five appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from at any given time due to the size of his kitchen. The menu will reflect a variety of feelings such as fun, seriousness, nostalgia, sarcasm, comfort and responsibility.

    Marc gets his inspiration from talking to the guests and seeing what they enjoy, flavors we remembered as a child and combinations that seem crazy but work. It’s a labor of love for sure. The staff is very caring and Marc works hard to make sure they have time for their families as well. For example, on Thanksgiving all of his servers and kitchen team were scheduled so they could have their Thanksgiving dinner before or after their shift with their family. In addition, they did a special dinner for employees and their families in their private dining room that day. He definitely wants you to be part of their family and therefore the dining experience should feel like you are sitting at the Chef’s table at any table in the dining room.

    Marc and his staff look forward to meeting you soon. Beer and wine are available now, however, a full bar is coming shortly. They are open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner. Seasonal poolside menu, offsite catering, cooking classes, and a private dining room are also available. Bistro Monterey is located in the Hotel Abrego, 755 Abrego St. Monterey, CA 93940. Call 831-372-7551 for reservations.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 7, 2012

    Topics: Oh, Have A Taste!

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