I spoke with Chef Todd Henderson, Executive Chef of the Queen Mary, to talk about the culinary creations that he has planned for the Peerless Spirit Scotch Dinner that will be held Thursday, February 20 in the Queen’s Salon on the Queen Mary, located in Long Beach. “Pairing Scotch with foods is not a lot different, although the peatiness or smokiness can make you think a little harder some times”, Chef Todd began. “People wonder how you can pair it, because they’re usually thinking of Scotch as something that you would have before a meal, or sitting by a fire on a cold night type of thing, but it really just takes a little more creativity”.
The evening will begin at 6pm in the Queen’s Salon with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres including Smoked Duck, Air Dried beef, a Deviled Egg with Caviar and Tall shrimp with Pesto Cream and Artisan Toast. The first course that Chef Todd has created for the dinner, to accompany The MacCallan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch, is a House Cured and Smoked Salmon. “We have Scottish salmon, which is a nice salmon, so we’re going to make it here. We’re going to dry it here and kind of infuse it with a little bit of the Scotch, just kind of kick up the flavors in the salmon a bit. After we give it a 2 or 3 day curing time, we’re going to take it out back and put it in our smoker, then give it a little smoke to enhance it a little. That’s going to be a nice dish. Most people, when you buy salmon, it’s already smoked and done. What’s nice about doing these dinners here is that you can play with all of the ingredients and come up with something really memorable, special and hopefully spectacular!”.
The second course will be served with a Highland Park 15 Year Single Malt. Chef Todd will be grilling some Olive Oil and Fennel Marinated Lamb Chops. On the side will be an Elephant Garlic Timbale and a Crispy Pancetta and Tepary Bean Nage. Chef Todd talked about items such as the lamb chops and the difference with items such as the tepary beans and the upcoming course. “What’s fun about these dinners is that some times you kind of go mainstream with some things and other times you can ‘test’ people, give them something they wouldn’t normally try at a restaurant or at home, so that’s where we came up with the venison idea”.
Chef Todd’s third course will be paired with a Highland Park 18 Year Single Malt. “The third course is the venison. One of the things with the Scotch that I did to stimulate my imagination was to think about where Scotch comes from in Scotland. It’s cold over there this time of year, with the dampness and the fog. I sat back with a glass of the Scotch one night and thought about what you would see over in Scotland and what are good hearty dishes for the winter and that’s where we came up with this venison osso buco shank. We’re going to also braise this in some of the Scotch, the Highland Park 18 Year, do some rustic potatoes and turnips with a barley risotto and finish it with the gremolauda. I’m excited about this dish as well!”
For the fourth and final course, a dessert trio will be paired with The MacCallan 15 Year Single Malt. “On the fourth course, you’ve got your cappuccino praline and your salted caramel. Then we’re going to do this Scottish Cranachan. Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert that’s made with cream that’s whipped or coddled and then infused with a little bit of the Scotch. There’s also some oatmeal that’s been toasted, sugared and also soaked in the Scotch. It’s all mixed together with some fresh berries. That’s going to be the interesting part of the trio on that dessert course.”
After the meal, guests will be invited to enjoy a fine Partagas Cigar with a glass of The MacCallan outside on the Queen Mary’s Verandah Deck, with an unmatched view of the evening skyline of Long Beach. The Scotch will not be named yet, but a special one is being especially chosen for this event that is not available in the United States. It will be a special delight for Scotch drinkers, bringing a tasty and fun ending to the dinner. Chef Todd summed it up by saying, “We’re going traditional Scottish with this menu, which is fun too!”. It truly looks like an excellent evening and a great way to start the Queen Mary’s 2014 Barrel Series Dinners.
The Peerless Spirit MacCallan Scotch Dinner will occur on February 20 in the Queen’s Salon on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Tickets are available through the Queen Mary’s website or by calling (877) 342-0738.
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802