Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the evolution of a dish

okay, this probably isn't the most interesting thing in the world, but i have a few minutes and wanted to put this down.
so for the next dinner one of the courses will be asparagus soup. it is spring, and with spring comes asparagus. grilled, blanched, steamed, sauteed, the possibilities are endless. as a general rule i like to play with my food. take something, and twist it, make it interesting. so originally i was thinking pureed asparagus soup, with hollandaise garnish. the two are a classic combo, but not usually in soup. that's what makes it fun. i thought maybe i would whip the hollandaise. of course there are problems with temperature and so forth that could prove to be problematic with the sauce....but we would cross that bridge. anyway, my next thought was how to maximize the color of the soup. nothing wrong with a pale vermilion, but how could i get it lush and verdant, that was the goal. one quick way was to add something like spinach into the mix to get some more green, but i didn't want to take away from the uniquely grassy flavor of the asparagus. so, was there another way. i thought perhaps blanch the asparagus, then use the blanching water to make stock with. blanching heightens color. so perhaps this was my solution. the asparagus would be a darker green added to the blanching water would perhaps give me the darker color i was hoping for.
but here's a problem. blanching causes vegetables to release polyphenols in to the blanching solution, which in the long run would turn the water/stock brown, and that wouldn't be a good thing.
so, i wrote a local chef with some of my questions: can you blanch vegetables without salt (yes)(and by the way, the reason i asked this was because if i used salt in the blanching liquid i couldn't really use that liquid again...typically you use a LOT of salt when blanching, so if i were to use that liquid to make stock - which i always reduce - i would have an unpalatably salty green/brown liquor. no good), how can we improve the color (spinach). he mentioned that he had prepared an ice filtered asparagus consomme for a dinner he had done before.
hmmm. consomme. okay. new direction. what can i do with consomme? carbonate it perhaps. that could be interesting. but really kind of one trick pony. i mean, bubbles are great and all, but it wasn't really adding anything to the soup in terms of character. then i thought, what about soda...yep. asparagus soda. take the consomme, put it in a syphon and carbonate it. of course add some simple syrup of some kind, serve this is a champagne flute. but what to do with the hollandaise? ice cream. ice cream float. soda and ice cream.
so there you have it. with some more help from chef josh, the final dish. "ice cream float" asparagus soda with ginger and orange simple syrup and blood orange maltaise ice cream.


Stephen said...

yo, i've been buying asparagus soda at the QT for years and mixin' that stuff with blue bunny. it's pretty good. i'll let ya know how yours compares though.

Novenson said...

wish we were in the lou....