For the most recent edition of the #SALTFIREWATER collaborative dinner series in Jacobsen Salt Co.’s soaring, cathedral-like headquarters, Jacobsen Salt, Bee Local, Williams-Sonoma and New Seasons Market came together to bring chef Edouardo Jordan of Seattle’s Salare and chef Matthew Sigler of Renata together in the kitchen.
Jordan’s Salare (which, in a perfect and entirely coincidental manner, comes from the Latin word “salt”) opened earlier this year to rave reviews, serving fresh, local cuisine in a cozy neighborhood space. Meanwhile in Portland, Renata—the project of a prominent Portland developer, who hired an experienced chef from San Francisco—was creating buzz from the minute it opened in May of this year. Most notoriously, The Oregonian named it the Restaurant of the Year for 2015 within weeks of Renata opening its doors.
The result was an intimate dinner for 50 guests, featuring local, seasonal ingredients (obtained by help of New Seasons), exquisite preparation and friendly conversation. Guests sipped a Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley’s Love & Squalor as they milled about the space and sampled passed appetizers like a creamy parsnip soup with matsutake mushrooms and Jacobsen black garlic salt from Salare, or a Parmesan fritter on a creamy, minuscule bed of “Isabella” cheese from Ancient Heritage Dairy and drizzled with Bee Local honey.
A display also allowed guests to sample wares from Bee Local and Jacobsen Salt, which included a cherry wood smoked honey, as well as varieties of the finest American-made flake finishing salt from Jacobsen.
Jacobsen director of marketing Matthew Domingo greeted guests after they’d been seated in the dining area, welcoming them to a dinner that “celebrated culinary craftsmanship and re-elevating elemental cooking ingredients that were commoditized and maligned in the last century.” Through four seated courses—and accompanying Love & Squalor wines—Jordan and Sigler elevated humble sea salt and honey to new heights.
A gentle broccoli sformato, or Italian custard, from Renata, was accompanied by a brassica salad, dusted with Jacobsen Ghost Chili salt and served with a Riesling from Love & Squalor. Next, Jordan tossed macaroni made with squid ink with giant squid and tender, juicy mussels, sea beans, shishito peppers and sauce diavolo with Jacobsen smoked salt, a dish straight from Seattle’s coast that was set off by a discreet Love & Squalor Pinot Noir.
For the third course, a veritable flavor bomb that looked like a hearty Thanksgiving dinner in miniature form, Sigler filled small, savory quail with a stuffing made from mushrooms. The delicate birds were laid on a bed of mashed Jacobsen salt-baked celeriac, accompanied by roasted carrots and an almond pesto.
Finally, Salare presented a spectacular fall dessert, composed of gingerbread cake with a tiny Bee Local honey and pear compote, served with thick, fruity pomegranate caramel and a quenelle of rich, creamy molasses ice cream. As a finishing touch, the cake was dusted with bee pollen collected from Bee Local founder Damian Magista’s very own backyard hive.
The convivial, collaborative evening brought together a number of local chefs and producers together under one roof, in the best Northwestern manner. The intimate setting allowed guests to connect with the people making, cooking and serving them their food, proving again that—besides the necessary salt, fire and water—the most necessary ingredient to a great dinner is great company and conversation.
The Salt offers two more dinners under this series for 2015, with the 2016 schedule to be announced in December. Book a seat at the remaining meals here.