Most of the time, if you are out on a date, extended moments of silence is a red flag. But last week when Em and I went to Back Forty in the East Village, our silence was warranted. Simply put, the Fried Oysters with Apple and Celery Root Remoulade and Shaved Fennel was one of the best appetizers I have ever eaten. And when something that good is put in front of you, conversation is a road block to getting your share. So we did the only thing we could think of, we ordered more.
So what are you supposed to do when you’ve had one of the best dishes in your life? Well, it’s not worth replicating. Even the greatest chefs know where to find their favorite specific dishes, and it is rarely coming out of their own kitchens. But what a good cook can do, is take what makes that dish memorable and meld into their own.
My Sole and Salmon Cakes with Shaved Fennel, Grapefruit, and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Shitake Mushrooms and Fried Salmon Skin may be the perfect compliment to those fried oysters. With all the great textures and familiar flavors of the Back Forty appetizer, my version benefited from a bit of citrus and my favorite chip out there, the fried salmon skin. I wouldn’t mine having a bit more of both.