Thomas Schauer
Creamy Spring Garlic Soup with Petit Gris Beignets, adapted from Daniel: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud.
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Creamy Spring Garlic Soup with Petit Gris Beignets

Daniel: My French Cuisine, Daniel Boulud & Sylvie Bigar with essays by Bill Buford - December 31st, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Daniel: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud & Sylvie Bigar with essays by Bill Buford―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

Serves 8 (advance preparation required)

Escargots:

  • 48 live petit gris snails, or canned Burgundy snails
  • 2 Tbsps. buckwheat flour
  • salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 sm. leek, white part only, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sachet (1 tsp. each black peppercorns and coriander seeds wrapped in cheesecloth and secured with butcher’s twine)
  1. Place snails in ventilated, covered container in the refrigerator, 1 day.

  2. Sprinkle flour over snails, on the second day.

  3. On the third day, fill large vessel with 3 quarts heavily salted water; submerge snails; soak 1 hour, allowing them to disgorge (they will produce a lot of foam and the water will turn milky); drain off salt water; rinse snails.

  4. In large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 2 quarts water, white wine, onion, celery, carrot, leek, bay leaf, sage, thyme, sachet, and snails; simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until snail flesh is tender, skimming any foam that rises to the surface; strain snails, reserving 2 cups liquid; remove snails from shells; cut off and discard entrails (tortillon); submerge snails in reserved liquid; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

If using canned snails, rinse under cold water until it runs clear; cut off and discard entrails; reserve snails in refrigerator.

Purple potato disks:

  • 4 large purple potatoes, cut into 24 1/4" thick disks, 1" in diameter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

In small saucepan, combine potatoes, garlic, and thyme; cover with water; season; bring to low simmer; cook 5 minutes, or until potatoes are tender; remove from heat; cool to room temperature in the liquid; reserve, in liquid, in refrigerator.

Spring garlic confit:

  • salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 16 spring garlic stalks, bulbs cut into 1/2" lengths and stems cut on bias to make 24 1" bâtons
  • 1 cup olive oil

Season spring garlic; place in small saucepan set over medium heat; add oil to fully submerge garlic; cook, keeping temperature at 185°F, 1 hour, or until tender; reserve (keep warm).

Creamy spring garlic soup:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs. spring garlic, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 sachet (1 tsp. each black peppercorns and coriander seeds, 6 sprigs thyme, and 1 bay leaf, wrapped in cheesecloth and secured with butcher’s twine)
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 qts. chicken stock
  • salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 oz. parsley leaves, blanched
  • freshly ground white pepper
  1. Brown butter in large Dutch oven set over medium heat; add spring garlic, onion, and sachet; cook, stirring, 10 minutes, or until tender; add potato and chicken stock; season; bring to boil; reduce heat to low simmer; cook 15 minutes, or until potatoes soften; remove sachet; add cream; remove from heat.

  2. Transfer mixture to a blender; add parsley; puree until smooth; season; chill over ice bath; reserve.

Assembly:

  • canola oil (for frying)
  • tempura batter
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 24 fiddlehead ferns, blanched
  • 1/2 cup small miner’s lettuce leaves
  1. Heat oil to 350°F.

  2. Strain the snails, discarding liquid; pat dry; dip 24 snails into tempura batter to coat; fry until golden brown; transfer to paper towel–lined tray; season; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Heat 2 Tbsps. spring garlic confit oil in small sauté pan over medium heat; toss in fiddleheads and remaining snails; heat through; season; reserve (keep warm).

  4. Heat potatoes with their liquid in saucepan over medium heat; stir until heated through.

  5. Heat soup until warm; ladle into bowls with flat, wide rims; float 3 bâtons spring garlic confit, 3 fiddlehead ferns, and 3 sautéed snails on the soup; arrange 3 potato disks in a line on rim of bowl and top each with tempura escargot; place 2 spring garlic confit bulbs between potatoes; garnish with 2 miner’s lettuce leaves.

Recipe from DANIEL: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud. Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Boulud. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.