One weekend LL and I spent the weekend in San Francisco to see Kiki and Herb at the A.C.T., but the show seemed sad and we were happy so we snuck out and walked down to the St. Francis where we went to sit at the bar at the Compass Rose but it was the new Michael Mina (which is the old Michael Mina now) and we were wowed by his tuna tartare.
It was one of those astonishing dishes, prepared table side – in our case, bar side – with gorgeous pink rich ahi and crisp sweet diced pears and salty pine nuts with the zing of garlic and the heat of jalapeño held together with quail eggs. It was a dish we had to recreate.
For a long time – a looooong time – I never got the whole brining-meat thing. My mom never brined the roasts she served on Sundays, so I never learned to. Her top rounds and rump roasts and roasted slowly in the oven, and presumably, if it was a little dry occasionally, the gravy she made to go with the mashed potatoes compensated nicely. But we live in a different time. Cooking shows have taken the place of soap operas and sitcoms. So after watching enough TV food instruction and inspiration, most recently it was Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, I caved and decided it was worth an experiment with a lean pork loin. And I totally get it now – it was tender and juicy, infused with rosemary, and perfectly seasoned without adding extra salt. Magical! Brining is the way to go!
The oysters smelled like the air on still, foggy mornings when the tide is low and kelp is heaped on the sand and the only footprints are from marauding nighttime snails – an ancient smell of brine and salty tears.