Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
…my favorites are the amuse gueule soups, canape soups…just two or three sips of intense lobster, intense fennel, avacado or watercress… – The French Laundry Cookbook, p. 31
The full commentary on soup by Chef Thomas Keller can be found online here:
Over the 2015/2016 holidays, I found starting the meal with a demitasse or small coffee cup portion of soup was a really nice appetizer to stimulate one’s appetite. As Chef Keller comments, “…soup is simple. Identify your ingredient, cook it perfectly, and adjust the consistency…start by…blanching, puree, add liquid, and strain – there’s your soup.”. Understandably, some vegetable flavors are stronger than others and Chef Keller addresses that topic by indicating that some vegetables such as turnips stand up to chicken stock while others such as fava beans might just use water and not even vegetable stock. In some cases, such a Thomas Keller’s carrot soup ( http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Chilled-Carrot-Soup-with-Fines-Herbes-Mousse ), reducing the juice of the ingredient goes quite a way to intensifying the flavor.
So how to enhance a soup? So, for this past New Year’s Eve dinner, I thought I’d make a 1/2 recipe version of Chef Keller’s Cream Of Cauliflower Soup ( http://www.akitcheninbrooklyn.com/2010/04/sashas-kitchen-ad-hocs-cream-of.html ). And while I didn’t make beet chips or croutons, I did make roasted cauliflower florets (simply tossed with olive oil, 4:1 salt/pepper mix and roasted at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes). I *did* re-arrange the recipe a little bit. After cooking the cauliflower/leeks/onion with grapeseed oil for twenty minutes, I then cooked the vegetables for about 20 minutes with 1 cup of konbu dashi to add umami (thank you Matsuhisa-sama). After cooking the vegetables in the konbu dashi, I pureed the mixed, put it back in a clean pot and added the milk and cream and slowly brought it up to medium high to simmer for about 10 minutes. My mother was really surprised how well the soup turned out. I could see doing a version of the French Laundry Puree Of English Pea Soup With White Truffle Oil And Parmesan Crisps using konbu dashi instead of vegetable stock (see https://books.google.com/books?id=GpQC3JkSe5oC&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=thomas+keller+Puree+Of+English+Pea+Soup++recipe&source=bl&ots=CHeVyXeaAu&sig=s3M9VYuBiMjv4w_chc2i9XDWMao&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwix87Du25vKAhXHtBoKHaIjALk4FBDoAQg7MAU#v=onepage&q&f=false )
I think the next soup I’d like to try to make in this manner would be watercress.