Some days ago, we invited you to try to win free tickets for next week’s New York Taste extravaganza by telling us which of last year’s dishes you’d tweak. Your answers ranged from a few indignant words (“I wouldn’t serve squab!”) to entire paragraphs about why salmon roe doesn’t work with smoked salmon. Some of you imagined tweaking every dish, and others actually tried to execute your ideas at home (“How did it turn out?” wrote a graduate student. “Horrible. I don’t know how to cook squab. I got grossed out as I tried.”) In the end, however, this entry managed to whet our appetite.
Mine is a simple tweak for the Parmigiano Panna Cotta with Crunchy Pancetta, and Balsamic-Vinegar Reduction plate.
Balsamic Vinegar reduction with Panna Cotta (sans any berries) should be retired. I’ve seen it one too many times now and each has been bland and uninspiring. If you saw it on the menu, would you go for it? Nope.
The reduction is never truly reduced enough. It should be thick syrup. You can tell by the way the vinegar pools that this reduction is not reduced enough. My compliments for the parmesan twist to the panna cotta, though. I’d keep that. However, I’d tweak the recipe to swap out the Balsamic for a Quince reduction (a dark, flavorful Quince paste, thinned, and brought back to the consistency of a thick glaze - come to think of it, maybe I’d add a dash of maple syrup to this glaze). And, to further enhance the crunchy pancetta, I’d apply a light quince glaze to the pancetta as well (think: candied by the glaze). Mmm. Sweet meat, sweet sauce, and parmy-panna cotta. Sign me up.
A simple tweak indeed, but Jorge, we’re fellow believers in the power of quince. For those of you who didn’t win, don’t worry — there are still tickets left for Monday’s parade of dishes from restaurants like Colicchio & Sons, Daniel, Hill Country Chicken, Le Bernardin, and more. Find them here.