Mouthwatering Moment… by Meredith Mileti (PLUS worldwide giveaway!!)
“Don’t move,” he says, getting up from the table and crossing the kitchen. He hefts a large cast iron pot from the oven. He lifts the lid, cups his hand, and wafts the steam upward toward his face. Even from across the room, the smell makes me want to swoon. Jake has made my favorite dish—his signature take on cassoulet, made with wild boar sausage braised in Barolo, cannellini beans, fennel and sweet red peppers. I can hear the hollow snap as he breaks the delicate crust of toasted bread, garlic and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. He fills a shallow bowl and places it reverently in front of me. “It’s not exactly summer fare, but I know it’s your favorite. I missed making it for you this winter. It actually works nicely with your pizza recipe, which has always been one of my favorites. We make a pretty good team, don’t you think?” he says softly. “Go ahead, taste it.”
“Aren’t you going to join me?”
“Of course,” he says, raising his eyes to meet mine. I watch as he fills his plate, picks up a bottle of wine and two glasses, and joins me at the table. He pours us each a glass of red wine. “Well? He asks, his eyes focused, unblinking, on my face.
I spear a piece of meat, which yields easily to my fork, and raise it to my lips. I take a deep breath and close my eyes…The flavors are at once complex and earthy. I taste every ingredient: the thick, slightly gamy taste of the boar; the subtle undercurrent of the fennel, which, when braised, releases a delicate licorice perfume; the gentle creaminess of the beans; the smoky heat of the roasted peppers; the harmonious balance of the wine.
It tastes like love.
Meredith’s favorite meal/indulgence: I love mussels. Any time, any way. (I’ve even been known to eat them for breakfast!) My favorite preparations are either steamed in white wine and shallot butter, or grilled and tossed with basil breadcrumbs. Just add a warm, crusty baguette and a glass of chilled Sancerre and I am a happy, happy girl.
To WIN one of two copies of AFTERTASTE, please leave a comment below. This competition is open WORLDWIDE and will be drawn at the end of the month. Thanks for your generosity, Meredith! (All comments left by blog subscribers will also be put in the draw for a Mouthwatering May special prize).