Eric Wolfinger
Garden Velouté with Mustard Cream, adapted from Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch with Christine Muhlke.
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Garden Velouté with Mustard Cream

Manresa: An Edible Reflection, David Kinch with Christine Muhlke - December 7th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch with Christine Muhlke―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“This idea came about simply because we had to find a way to use the overflow of 'green' that comes from the farm from late spring until early autumn. We wanted to capture the fragrant aromas of the stalks, stems, flowers, and seeds, not to mention the leaves of the lettuces, spinaches, chards, and other vegetables, to create a heady broth—or a floral tisane. Our ideas led us to this velvety soup, which combines the bright pureed leaves—blanched and refreshed to maintain their color—with the perfume of the garden inherent in the broth. The cores and overgrown leaves add a pleasant bitterness to the vegetables’ natural sweetness. Thickened with a little bit of potato, the soup stays completely vegetarian but has a luxe texture. Some delicate herbs and several cool, contrasting vegetable purees (which have any number of creative uses in the kitchen) make a colorful statement.

“It is important to have a diversity of ingredients in the pot without turning it into a compost pile. Be thoughtful but open-minded about what goes in. You’re trying to achieve the flavor of green while staying balanced. This recipe makes a large batch: luckily it’s even better the next day.”

Serves 12

Garden tisane:

  • 6 1/2 qts. (approx. 6kg) water
  • enough “greens” to fill stockpot loosely, e.g., tender herbs and vegetable stalks; onion, leek, and carrot tops; lettuces (including cores, bolts, stalks, seeds, and flowers); pansies and calendulas, etc., trimmed and cut into manageable pieces
  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
  • 1 lg. white onion, sliced
  • 2 med. leeks, white and green parts, trimmed, washed, and split
  • 2 tsps. (8g) large-grain sea salt, such as fleur de sel or sel gris
  • 1 1/2 tsps. (5g) black peppercorns
  • 2 handfuls delicate soft herbs, especially Italian flat-leaf parsley, including stems

Bring large pot of water to rolling boil; place greens, garlic, onion, leeks, salt, and peppercorns into second large stockpot; pour boiling water over greens; bring to simmer; remove from heat; cover and infuse 20 minutes; add herbs and flowers; cover and infuse another 15 minutes; strain, pressing solids to extract liquid; reserve.

Blanched vegetable velouté:

  • 10.5 oz. (300g) potatoes, peeled, diced, and steamed until soft
  • 6 bunches leafy greens (such as chard, spinach, watercress, arugula), blanched separately and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. (15g) Champagne vinegar
  • kosher salt

Puree 2 1/2 to 3 qts. (2 1/3 to 3kg) garden tisane, potatoes, and greens to smooth velouté texture; adjust seasoning with vinegar and salt; chill over ice bath; reserve.

Celeriac puree:

  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed but left whole
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (190g) whole milk
  • 2 cups (250g) celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2” dice
  • kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. (15g) unsalted butter

Wrap and tie thyme and garlic in cheesecloth; place in pan with milk, celeriac, and salt; bring to simmer over medium heat; simmer 20 minutes, until celeriac soft softens; discard sachet; strain celeriac, reserving milk; place celeriac in blender; puree, slowly adding milk as needed; add butter; blend; strain; season; cool; reserve.

Carrot puree:

  • 12 oz. (350g) carrots, peeled and grated
  • kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. (70g) water
  • 3 1/2 Tbsps. (50g) extra-virgin olive oil

Place carrots, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 4 tsps. water in vacuum-sealable bag; seal; cook in large pot of boiling water 1 hour; remove bag; place contents of bag, oil, and remaining 2 tsps. water in blender; puree at full speed until smooth; strain; season; cool; reserve.

Beet puree:

  • 15 oz. (425g) beets, well rinsed
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (250ml) water
  • 4 tsps. (20g) kosher salt

Place beets, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsps. (150g) water, and 1 Tbsp. (15g) salt in pressure cooker; cook 28 minutes on high pressure setting; remove beets; peel; blend with remaining water and salt at full speed at least 3 minutes, until smooth; strain; season; cool; reserve.

Turnip puree:

  • 10.5 oz. (300g) turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 tsps. (25g) vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. (15g) butter
  • kosher salt

Combine turnips, broth, and butter in vacuum-sealable bag; seal; cook in large pot of boiling water 1 hour; remove bag; place contents of bag in blender; puree at full speed until smooth; strain; season; cool; reserve.

Eggplant caviar:

  • 1 large globe eggplant, charred, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (25g) mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. (50g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • juice of 1 lemon

Place eggplant and garlic into pot over medium heat; stir until moisture leaves eggplant and it begins to stick; transfer to bowl; cool; whisk in mayonnaise, followed by oil; season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice; reserve.

Fava bean mortar and pestle sauce:

  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 10 mint leaves
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup (160g) fava beans, blanched and peeled
  • 2 salt-packed anchovies, soaked in milk 20 minutes and rinsed
  • 10 almonds, toasted
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps. (7g) Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • lemon juice

Pound garlic, mint, and salt using mortar and pestle; add fava beans, anchovies, and almonds; pound to thick paste; slowly drizzle in oil while continuing to stir, until mixture reaches a flowing sauce; stir in cheese; adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and drop or 2 of lemon juice; reserve.

Nasturtium, arugula, or chrysanthemum mortar and pestle sauce:

  • 3 Tbsps. (25g) almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 7 oz. (200g) nasturtium, arugula, or chrysanthemum leaves, blanched and chopped
  • scant 1 cup (200g) olive oil or other relevant oil, such as walnut
  • kosher salt
  • white wine or Champagne vinegar

Pound nuts, using mortar and pestle; add leaves; pound to thick paste; slowly drizzle in oil, continuing to pound; season with salt and vinegar; reserve.

Mustard cream:

  • 1 1/4 cups (270g) natural or heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsps. (45g) whole-grain French mustard, Pommery style

Combine cream and mustard in large stainless-steel bowl; whip to soft peaks; reserve, chilled.

Assembly:

  • assorted small flower or tender herb tops, such as purslane, tiny sorrel, bean flowers, cucumber flowers, coriander flowers, mustards, radish tops, squash shoots, arugula, and basil tops

Warm velouté; place spoonfuls of vegetable purees, eggplant caviar, and sauces, with small quenelle mustard cream, into shallow serving bowl; arrange flowers and herbs over purees; pour velouté over mustard cream tableside.

Chef’s Note: You can choose to make only 2 of the purees and sauces in this recipe or as many as 5, depending on what vegetables are available or at their peaks.