This preparation started out simply enough from our friends at Mercat a la Planxa who were kind enough to bring us some shavings of their Pata Negra when they came in to dine with us. We loved it so much that we decided to get a ham ourselves to see where we could take it.
Though probably not meant to be disclosed, much personal inspiration comes from going through the refrigerator and utilizing what needs to be used. I love the challenge when a course needs to be replaced last minute due to availability or needing refinement. There always seems to be a means to an end and it’s even better when that earns a regular rotation to the menu. Though this dish was born mostly on it’s own, this utilization is likely one of the only ways a venture of this size can be financially viable.
In any case, we had run out of most of the components that had been used for a dish called ‘Chokes’ that featured members of the thistle family such as artichokes, crosnes, cardoons, and sunchokes. They all were used up when the dish came off the menu, with the exception of the sunchokes. Despite desires to utilize dead weight from the cooler, it would be counter productive if it didn’t make sense from the point of the palate, but sunchokes and ham did make. The sunchokes here are presented in three forms: as a crisp, as a puree, and then as a marmalade scented with saffron. We have since bought at least three more cases of the sunchokes.
Additional accompaniments are no less unique than the ham. We have a cana de cabra aged goat’s cheese from Spain, a fresh ground Espelette from the Basque region of France (brought in by Rod Markus of Rare Tea Cellar), and BLiS Elixir – an intense double aged sherry vinegar (also available from Rod).