If you are into the local restaurant scene or follow the farm-to-table movement, chances are you've heard of Chef Scott Pampuch. As the owner and executive chef of Corner Table in South Minneapolis and founder of Tour de Farm, it's no surprise that Chef Pampuch looks to local farms for inspiration in his dishes.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a Muir Glen dinner event (thanks, Kate!) hosted by Corner Table and was thrilled to attend. I recall reading about Scott Pampuch's partnership with Muir Glen in Foodservice News a few months ago and thought his rationale was totally acceptable. Really, who am I to judge? I also recently partnered with General Mills on a project (more to come on that in a later post), but I still value eating fresh and local when possible.
Anyway, onto the fabulous dinner! The focus of the meal was to highlight special hand-harvested canned tomatoes by Muir Glen called Meridan Ruby and Chef Pampuch did it extremely well.
The evening started with plenty of wine along with a couple passed appetizers like fire-roasted tomato soup paired with mini grilled gouda sandwiches and tomato tarts topped with Northern Lites blue cheese. I'm a sucker for a good tomato soup and thought this one was the best that I've had. The added flavor of caramelized carrots and rutabagas combined with smoky fire-roasted tomatoes probably had a lot to do with the success.
The first course seemed simple, but of course, was quite complex. Tender pieces of pasta were stuffed with sofrito and served with Amatriciana pasta sauce offering little bites of pork and some kick from crushed peppers.
The second course was a take on the traditional hamburger, using lamb instead of beef, ditching the bun, and creating a tomato gastrique (think ketchup) out of the strained tomato juices. No waste here! I also enjoyed the housemade mustard, pickle relish, and tomato salt made from dehydrated tomatoes.
Creating a dessert using tomatoes can't be easy, but tomato sorbet was the right way to go. Full of tomato flavors and hit with a bit of salt, this light sorbet was a great match for the dense olive oil cake.
If Scott Pampuch can make canned tomatoes taste this good, I can only imagine what he can do with fresh produce. This dinner not only enticed me to try Meridian Ruby tomatoes on my own, but also enticed me to rush back to Corner Table to explore more of Chef Pampuch's creations.
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Disclosure: This dinner was a press/promotional event sponsored by Muir Glen. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write anything about it.