There are countless cookoffs in New York City these days, but one we give the Edible Manhattan seal of approval to is surely the annual cassoulet competition at Jimmy’s No. 43 on E. Seventh Street this very Saturday.
The $20 entry fee goes to the city Greenmarkets and allows all who come to graze — if one can indeed graze on cassoulet — from 1 to 5 p.m. on the handiwork of 2011 competitors such as Patti Jackson of i Trulli, Matt Hamilton of Belcourt, Simon Glenn of the Sunday Cajun/Creole bbq setup at d.b.a Brooklyn called Tchoup Chop.
The day will commence, for those of us on the judges panel at least, with a Rodenbach toast, says host Jimmy Carbone. The Belgian brew company that makes the Flemish sour ale is donating suds, as the tart tones in the beer are a smart palate counterpoint, says Carbone, to all the fatty duck and duck confit typically found in cassoulet. Waterfront Ale House owner, craft beer expert and competitive barbecuer Sam Barbieri swears by the stuff and often greets his fellow competitors at the start of things (like this summer’s Pig Island) with a breakfast of something like a headcheese sandwich and glass of Rodenbach, says Jimmy: “Figure it would work with cassoulet too!”