Get the Recipes: Pistachio-crusted Rack of Lamb • Mascarpone Polenta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto • Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette • Bouillabaisse • Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras • Cranberry Cake
Eric places thickly sliced applewood-smoked bacon, diced for the spinach salad, into a cold pan. “Why a cold pan?” Diane asks. He replies, “You want to render the fat slowly, because this will be the dressing for the salad. You don’t want it to caramelize too quickly and burn the sugars.” Twenty minutes later, the bacon vinaigrette is lightly dressing spinach leaves garnished with thin slices of prosciutto, Marcona almonds and creamy blue cheese crumbles. For a holiday twist and to balance out the richness of the dish, Eric adds sherry vinegar and fresh plum slices to the mix.
Mike Haynes normally handles business development for the magazine, but right now he’s busy putting the finishing touches on the polenta appetizer, topping them with a pesto of Parmesan, garlic, and sun-dried tomato. Ashley pours goblets of Private Cellar 2013 chardonnay and passes them around. With notes of bright citrus, wet slate petrichor and sweet cream, the wine is a perfect foil to the rich polenta and garlicky tomato topping.
Soon it’s time to enjoy our holiday feast. Bottles of Mick’s private-label merlot and cabernet flow freely during dinner. Recalling his days with Fleetwood Mac, Mick says, “[Rock music promoter] Bill Graham was a smart man. He would take care of our stomachs first, because he knew if we were happy and fed well, we’d want to perform for him again.” And the show does go on, in the kitchen and on stage at Fleetwood’s on Front St. Passionate about teamwork, Mick shares his thoughts about the similarities between the two: the preparation before a concert or a meal, and how each is like a circus act with finely cued players.
His recollection resonates with all of us as we breathe in the delicious aromas. This is one of Mick’s favorite moments; I see it in his face, in his eyes, and in his smile. Good friends, good food and good music.