1st day of Pork Week – Dinner @ Niche Restaurant
I’ve been anticipating Pork Week like a kid before Christmas and I was ready to go for bust my first night out.
I recruited my friend Gavin for Day 1 of pork week, and we decided to try out Niche. We had eaten together there back in March, but this was our first time eating at Niche with Chef Eric Hanson and Chef Fabian Haake, aka The Two Chefs.
Eric is an e-town boy who has been busy travelling and working around the world and Fabian is German chef who through his own travels has found his way to Edmonton.
Eric is a fellow celiac who can cook me up some delicious gluten-free treats and Fabian said he would teach me how to make traditional German sausage. Needless to say I have a massive crush…. on The Two Chefs.
When we arrived we were told about the four dishes for the Pork Week menu available for $60 for all four, or a la carte. Of course… we decided on the four-course pork menu (and did our best to convince our dining neighbours to do the same).
First up we were treated to an amuse bouche was a shot of hot wine infused with bacon, thyme and vanilla with a blueberry.
First dish was Proscuitto Pea Soup with vanilla cinnamon foam and garnished with bacon flavoured popcorn. We both commented that we were used to a thick pea soup, but this version was smooth and silky. We both thought it was delicious, and lady dining next to us was huge fan (so much so she asked if I could get the recipe for my blog).
Proscuitto and Pea Soup – with Vanilla Cinnamon Foam and Bacon Flavoured Popcorn
by The two Chefs at Niche Restaurant
To the Store, and hopefully the farmers market
2kg Frozen Peas
500g Proscuitto – thinly sliced
Chicken Stock 1 L
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pepper
3 oz Garlic – roughly chopped
4 Shallots – roughly chopped
1 Tbsp picked Fresh thyme
2 Tbsp Liquid Honey
1 tspMadagascarBourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 tsp White Wine
50ml Heavy Cream
+25 ml Heavy Cream
1 Cinnamon Quill
Now to the kitchen
Place a medium sized pot on medium heat.
Add Proscuitto slices
Sautée the shallots and garlic until the shallots are translucent
Deglaze with the White Wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula
Add butter, honey and vanilla paste
Cook for one minute, sirring constantly
Add Chicken Stock and Thyme
Bring to a boil and add Peas
Cook for three to five minutes or until the peas are tender
Blend all the ingredients and strain through a sieve enjoy
For the Vanilla Cinnamon Foam….
In a small bowl add heavy cream, a pinch of vanilla bean paste left over from the soup
Grate the Cinnamon 8 times across a microplane over the bowl
Whisk until soft peaks
Spoon over Soup once in a bowl
Serve with Popcorn.
Chef’s note. We pan fry bacon just before finishing cooking, then add desired butter for popcorn and voila, bacon flavoured popcorn.
Second dish was Scallops with Wild Boar Bacon, with sunchoke puree, pickled mushrooms, shallots and white truffle oil. We had spotted of these coming out of the kitchen to the other side of the restaurant, and we were craning our necks to catch a glimpse.
When ours arrived at the table they were plated beautifully and tasted incredible. The combination of textures and flavours made this a dish I wanted to savour. As we licked our plates clean Gavin said “that was amazing, that’s the kind of dish I could eat 10 more of.”
Our feature entrée was the perfect sized portion of Smoked Pork Belly served with a Whiskey Cherry Demi, Pomme Annas and Golden Beets. Gavin said the whiskey cherry demi glace was so good it could be soup, and I was savouring every bite on the plate.
I saved my crackling for last, and we tried to convince our neighbours not to send it back to the kitchen. Not sure they were sold on it, but Gavin and I both cleaned our plates of pork crackling.
For dessert we were treated to a strawberry, blueberry, which chocolate bacon ice cream served with seasonal berries and a spoon holding an infused bubble of peach schnapps, sake, and a gooseberry chaser. It was a wonderful way to finish an incredible four course meal, and a great start to Alberta Pork’s Passion for Pork Restaurant Week in Edmonton.