Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picnic near Coit Tower: grilled sea bass with potato salad and dill pickles

Mayonnaise, it turns out, is as easy as anything. We followed the recipe from Julia Child and Company (1978): "Using the metal blade (I never use the plastic one for anything), process [1 whole] egg, [2 egg] yolkds, [1 teaspoon Dijon] mustard, and ½ teaspoon salt for 30 seconds. Then add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and process half a minute more. Finally, in a very thin stream, pour in [2 cups olive and/or peanut] oil. When all has gone in, remove cover, check consistency, and taste for seasoning."

So make your own mayonnaise. Also halve a pound of fingerling potatoes and boil them in salted water until cooked but still al dente. Dice a stick or two of celery and about a third of a large red onion. Combine the potatoes, celery, and red onion with some mayonnaise, and maybe some salt and some sherry vinegar. Transfer to a large tuperware container.

Check two half-pound pieces of seabass for scales, and then coat them in a few spoonfuls of mayonnaise. Heat up the grill and cook the bass evenly on all sides, adding some fresh tarragon near the end of the cooking. Let the fish cool slightly and then move to a tuperware.

Finally, prepare a final salad (not pictured) with heirloom tomatoes, garden basil, and a little salt, olive oil, and just a touch of balsamic vinegar.

Pack a cooler with the dishes, and add also a jar of homemade dill pickles (use a recent batch that still has some bite). Find a beautiful picnic spot, and enjoy an early dinner with a nice bottle of red wine.

In particular, find a spot just below Coit Tower by cutting off the trail up a little early. Start dinner around 3:30pm and eat for an hour, and then discover that you don't have time to climb the tower. Instead, head down to Pier 33 for the ferry to Alcatraz Island. Watch Hamlet on Alcatraz, arguably the best Shakespeare production you've seen (and you've seen shows at Ashland — it helps that Hamlet is such a good script). Encourage all your friends to go too, although it looks like they might have sold out.

No comments: