My friend Katherine recently planted a terrific idea in my brain.
“Can we please eat lobsters and drink white Burgundy together? Like, soon?” It was like I had never heard of a more amazing idea in my life.
Fast forward one week and five grocery trips later, and Adam and I were confronted with a refrigerator bursting forth with eight lobsters and nine bottles of white wine. Conceptually, we decided on a menu that melded both classic Burgundian and traditional American techniques — kinda like me and Adam, actually.
This is what we came up with:
Champagne with raspberry syrup // Gougères // Smoked salmon with crème fraîche, lemon and cucumber
Wilted pea shoots + baby swiss chard + garlic // Richard Olney’s 45-minute scrambled eggs with fava beans + garlic sourdough rye croutons
Boiled lobster with tarragon butter + garlic-scallion butter + green peppercorns // Boiled new potatoes with scallions + walnut vinaigrette
Peach tart with fresh pastry cream //
The night was magical, and I’ll share all the recipes in the next few days, starting with the gougères, a savory choux pastry — picture a French cheese puff — traditionally made with milk, cheese, flour, salt, and egg. (I’ve also seen variations that use white pepper or Dijon mustard). Gougères are often made with salty Gruyère, but you could use Comté or emmenthaler, too. They’re an indisputably classic — and irresistible — French hors d’oeuvre, and happen to pair spectacularly with white Burgundy, and even champagne. Though I loosely followed an old Saveur recipe, Dorie Greenspan’s iteration looks lovely, too. The finished gougères are a thing to behold — light to the touch, and even lighter in the mouth. And they couldn’t be simpler to make.
Makes 3 dozen. Adapted from here.
8 T butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup AP flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups grated gruyère cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add salt. Bring to a boil and remove pan from heat when butter has melted.
2. Dump in flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the batter pulls away from the sides of the pan. (This took less than a minute for me; it should happen very quickly).
3. Return pan to heat for one minute, stirring. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Make sure dough is smooth after each addition — it should look shiny and slick, and very thick.
5. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese until well combined.
6. Scoop spoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush each puff with a bit of milk, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup grated cheese.
7. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden and light. Serve immediately.