Monday, August 25, 2008

Using things we have plenty of

With pecks full of glowing red tomatoes, and wood crates that have corn cobs sticking out of them like a porcupine, what to do? Soup! The great equalizer, apt at both condensing flavors and stretching flavors, soup is most likely the answer. But tomato soup with blue cheese, naw then I still have a bunch of corn. Corn bisque, naw did it last week. How about a ‘Manhattan’ style tomato-corn chowder? Yes, this was the answer, and the soup turned out damn good. Let me explain what I did, and I’ll try to convert batch size to farmers market quantities.

6 ears of corn separated, shucked, grilled, kernels removed

For the corn stock

6 cobs of corn, no kernels, broken into thirds
1 onion
2 carrots
½ head celery
1 bell pepper
tbsp whole coriander
4 whole cloves
Water to cover.

Sauteed the rough chopped vegetables in a small amount of oil, once they begin to brown add the spices, then cobs, and cover with water. Once the stock comes to a boil, simmer for about an hour, let rest for half an hour off the heat, then strain.

For the Chowder
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 quarts ripe/over ripe tomatoes, 5#

Corn kernels
1 large potato diced
1 tomato
Salt, white pepper, tabasco, honey
Optional garnishes parsley, goat cheese, bacon?

Caramelize the onion in the butter, add the garlic, cook for 3 minutes, then add flour to make a roux. Add the tomatoes rough chopped, corn stock, and bring to a boil. By easiest means possible puree this mixture. An emersion blender is perfect. Letting it cool and using a food processor or blender works as well. If all you have is a whisk or a spoon, then go at it the best you can. The potato goes into a smooth base first for 10 minutes, then the corn, tomato, and seasoning. If your tomatoes aren’t the sweetest and the soup is tart, try adding a pinch of baking soda, which will neutralize the acids. While salt and pepper are a must, depending on your desired flavor, a little heat or a little sweet, use your discretion.

At the restaurant we garnished with a goat cheese cream and parsley.


Cory said...

very nice idea... you have to be twice as creative to get people to try new things... i explained to a few servers who try hard to sell specials and care about the food the whole tourchon process and the first night i got two sold at the very start of service but then just a couple through out the night ended up selling it on steak and it worked better

Michael Walsh said...

Cory, good work on the torchon in any case. I tear up in one eye to see a wonderful torchon slopped over a steak, but my other eye sees people at least approaching it.

When i left BPG i think we where making a foie mousse, and foie sautee with frizee topped something. Both where components of a dish rather than the star, but i think foie deserves to be the star, especially considering the price.

With the business and travel clientel, along with the shear numbers I don't believe that the customer base rejects a foie app. Even the price fits with the whole sceme of things there. I can see management and service puts food low on the priority list, just like 3 years ago. It's a shame because guys like you, me, and shawn aren't able to bloom there.

Oh well, i hope things are goind well for you, thanks for visiting my blog.

Cory said...

I can't agree more... I don't like to admit it, but the French are right when it comes to foie... Its beauty lies in simplicity... the less you do the better, tourchon bein the perfect example... All i can hope is next time the customers who ordered the steak come in they order the foie app... or maybe ill use the beef as a garnish and use the foie as the star...

Yea its not always easy being at the BP and wanting to be creative... Some days i can read the frustrations all over Shawns face... he is very talented and gets shot down a lot of the time.. But you have to stay positive.. sometimes the feeling you get from a perfect dish you completely stand behind, can be found in teaching people... From how to make a sauce or why you always stir rice with a spoon and not your tongs... its not alwyas just the end result but how you get there that can matter just as much..

Pete was talking the other day about a truffle dinner chez francois is going to be doin... we should all work something out and check it out... Ask Chef Morris about his apricot truffle preserves.. freakin amazing.. keep cooking and i really enjoy your website... take care

Michael Walsh said...

corey, I have to agree with you whole heartedly that teaching others, and staying posative are two of the most important aspects of what we do. I just came to this epiphany myself, and have been that much a better man for it. I've errored manny times in the past with respect to these two ideas, and while i didn't then, i do regret it now.

i will lool up that truffe dinner and see how the date works out.

if you ever would like to chat outside of these comments feel free to e-mail me,

ps. tell shawn i said what up! and get a freak'n internet connection!