Workshop Improvisations and Cauliflower Veloute
I’ll get right to it, because this past weekend’s workshops churned out a long list of thoughtful, delicious, unique dishes–plates created by enthusiastic participants, many who had never successfully improvised an original dish before. The list is impressive:
Crostini with Anchovy Butter, Seared Oyster Mushrooms, and Swiss Chard
Crostini of Buttery Carrots, Cauliflower, Aioli, and Pickled Apples
Farro and Fennel Pork Loin, with Roasted Turnips and Celery
Root Vegetable Broth, with parsnips, carrots, and turnips
Pappardelle with Shallots and Oyster Mushrooms, in Garlic and Mushroom Broth
Shredded Chicken and Braised Leeks on Polenta
Salad of Swiss Chard Stems, Apple Pickles, Cauliflower, and Celery
Pappardelle with Oyster Mushrooms and Roasted Shallots in Cheesestock
Plate of Farro, Lightly-pickled Golden Beets, and Ricotta
Broccolini and Cannellini Beans, with Caper Relish
Polenta with Leek Broth and Olive Oil
Baked Polenta and Root Vegetable Terrine
The lunch we serve, as always, reflects the “2 minutes” method of assembling meals. Things on the table included:
Freekeh with Roasted Shallots and Almonds
Poached Cauliflower dressed with Caper Aioli
Chicken Jus Butter and Toast
Ricotta Custard with Coriander Braised Leeks
Anchovy Picholine Olives
and, of course, Cauliflower and Garlic Veloute (recipe, at end)
Thanks to those participants who enthusiastically snapped pictures. Here are some of my own:
Cauliflower and Garlic Veloute
- Saute onion in butter on medium low heat until very soft and translucent. Add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon to make a paste, and then cook for about 5 minutes to make a roux. You’ll notice how the paste begins to coat the bottom as it cooks; this is good. Just make sure to stir continuously so that the roux cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.
Meanwhile, bring Court Bouillon and Garlic Stock to a quick boil. Add salt. Add cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, lift out cauliflower, ignoring any little pieces that escape your grasp.
While whisking roux, add still hot stocks, all at once. Bring soup base back up just to a boil, turn off heat, and add cauliflower to heat through.
Puree everything in a blender and strain, if you like, through a chinois. Serve with a pat of butter and crunchy salt. Sprinkle with caraway seeds or a dusting of ground cumin.
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