We took a weekend cooking class at Mercersberg Inn with L'Academie de Cuisine's founder, Francois Dionot . Lots of hands-on cooking, instruction, and honest feedback in a great setting. This recipe is plagiarized from his handouts, with my annotations based on making it again at home.
Though humble sounding, the cauliflower comes through and the zing provided by roquefort custard served in the soup is a treat. Not terribly hard to produce, though we realized that recipes by chefs are meants as guides only: you have to think, improvise, taste, and adjust continuously. ("Needs more salt!" --Dionot)
|2||Leeks, white part only, sliced|
|1||small head||Cauliflower, cut up|
|2-6||cups||Chicken Stock, enough to cover cauliflower in pot|
|Sea Salt and Pepper|
Saute Onion, Leeks, Shallot and Garlic gently until tender and translucent.
Add Cauliflower. Season with Salt and Pepper. Cover with Stock: you should have enough to just cover the cauliflower -- don't fixate on the number of cups. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend soup in batches in a blender; it should be as thick as a thin cream of ... soup; add stock if it's too thick. Be careful! When you turn on the blender it will whip in air which will expand rapidly in the hot soup and blow the lid off and explode all over you. Cover lid with dish towel and hold tight. Start mixer very slowly and/or pulse to whip in air slowly; once incorporated, turn up the speed and blend until smooth.
|3||oz||Heavy Cream (or 6 oz total Half-n-Half)|
|Sea Salt and Pepper|
Heat the milk and cream. Add the Roquefort and whisk well until fully integrated into the milk and cream. Note: if you are whisking in an aluminum pot, avoid scraping the sides and bottom as this will loosen a tiny amount of metal and turn the cream gray; use a nylon whisk, a non-aluminum pot, or just be careful you don't scrape.
Mix the Egg and Yolk in a mixing bowl. Temper the eggs in the cream (add a little of the hot cream to warm the eggs, mix, then add back into the hot cream); I simply drizzle the hot cream into the eggs while I whisk the eggs continuously. Season with Salt and Pepper.
Butter and fill flan containers; I use small ceramic ramekins.
Place in a water bath. Cook covered at 350F for 30 minutes or until set. The first time I did this, I did not cover the ramekins and it took 50 minutes before the flan set; if it doesn't set, it makes a gooey, unimpressive (but tastey) mess.
Spoon soup into heated bowls. Add a custard disc to each bowl. Garnish (I like the color of a sprinkle of paprika).
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