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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Brandon Unbound

 

continued

Right now, it's simply gorgeous. At the height of the harvest season, we see the pinnacle of locavorism: who needs meat when you have homegrown vegetables so beautifully textured and intensely flavored? Nearly all the appetizers (and at least two main dishes) are vegetarian friendly. Stuffed squash blossoms were superb--tubular flowers filled with fresh goat cheese from Tecumseh's Four Corners Creamery then submerged in a tempura-like batter and fried. A tomato and goat-cheese tart was a study in contrasts, pitting the soft, ripe fruit against the tangy cheese and a crisp pastry shell flavored with pepper. Green beans in a creamy, intensely tarragon-flavored dressing were accompanied by psychedelically colored, beet-juice-dyed pickled eggs that looked like something from Peter Max.

These big, bold veggie flavors create a synergy in the main dishes: the northern wilderness flavor of slow-roasted wild salmon is set off by an accompanying sweet corn relish and punctuated by a tomato-ginger jam. A genteel sweet lake perch is simply complemented by brown butter, but tartness comes via capers, earthiness from roasted fingerling potatoes, and saltiness from lardoons of smoky bacon. Heartily portioned food arrives carefully but not fussily composed on warmed plates.

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