Getting (Sur)Real at the PEM

Posted: July 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Salem | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

During a cooking demonstration, Chef Matt O'Neil creates a layer of chive cream for his tuna tartare

The Peabody Essex Museum is throwing several evening parties this summer. We decided to check out Thursday night’s event because one of our favorite North Shore chefs, Matt O’Neil of The Blue Ox, was doing a cooking demonstration.

Army of Broken Toys provided the evening's soundtrack

The night was dedicated to surrealism, with a special exhibit of Man Ray paintings and music by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys.

O’Neil was serving up tuna tartare with chive cream on a potato crisp. The connection with surrealism is the surprise of combining seafood with cheese (there is mascarpone in the cream under the tuna). Surreal or not, it was an outstanding combination of texture and flavor.

Sushi grade tuna awaits dicing, adding the "special" sauce, the finished tuna tartare

The chef mixed together one part sour cream to two parts mascarpone and added a generous amount of chives. He suggested making the cream a day ahead for more “chive presence.” The cream is piped or spooned onto thick potato chips (potatoes soaked in water for one hour and then fried).

The sushi-grade tuna gets finely diced. O’Neil prefers the very-tender loin over the belly (torro) for this preparation. To the tuna, he adds the green part of the scallion, black sesame seeds, cilantro, diced cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

The last step is the addition of his “special sauce,” which includes sriracha, soy, sesame oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, and honey

The live chess game

Tastebuds satisfied and recipe in hand, we were ready for the final event of the evening: a live chess game, complete with outrageous costumes.

Check out upcoming events at the PEM here. The next summer party is Waterworks on August 25, featuring a cash bar, experiments with water, Andrew Sempere’s Bowl of Oceans sculpture, and Susan Fishman and Elena Kalman’s The Wave, an interactive installation in the Asian Garden.

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