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By Patricia Wells
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Patricia Wells
All right reserved.
Satiny Pumpkin SoupCreme au Potiron
Serves 6 to 8
Pumpkin soup has been a favorite of mine since childhood. But I must admit that Chef Robuchon's soothing, elegant version, with its pure, unmasked pumpkin flavor, takes me miles away from those days in the Midwest. This recipe is in fact a simple formula for any variety 0f creamy soups: Instead of pumpkin, substitute the same amount of cauliflower, asparagus, or even fresh faya beans. It's the final emulsion that gives the soup its creamy unctuousness.
Equipment: An immersion mixer (optional; see box, page 39)
2 pounds trimmed fresh pumpkin, cubed
1 quart chicken stock (page 334)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1¼ cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Croutons, for garnish (optional)
In a stockpot, combine the pumpkin, chicken stock, and sugar. Cover, bring to a boil, and counting from the time the liquid begins to boil, simmer for 18 minutes. (Pumpkin should cook quickly to avoid any bitterness.) Once the pumpkin is cooked, puree themixture in a food processor or blender. Then strain it through a coarse sieve back into the stockpot.
In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water.
Return the soup to a boil, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Remove the pot from the heat and quickly whisk in the cornstarch. Stir in the cream and bring back to a boil. Puree again in the food processor or blender, or with an immersion mixer, incorporating the butter. The soup should have a velvety, creamy consistency.
Return the soup to the stockpot over moderate heat, and taste for seasoning. (Do not salt the soup during cooking, for the chicken stock should season it sufficiently.) Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with tiny croutons fried in clarified butter.
Tomato-Mint SorbetSorbet Tomate a la Menthe
3 cups sorbet
Simple and satisfying, this is a marvelous first course for a luncheon on a steamy summer day. Make this with "meaty" plum tomatoes, and serve it in clear glass bowls with a sprig of mint for garnish. Note that the method of making the tomato puree -- baking the tomatoes, then peeling them -- is also a good quick way to make a basic tomato sauce.
Equipment: One 1-quart capacity ice cream maker
3 pounds plum tomatoes
1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
Several whole fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Halve the tomatoes horizontally, and squeeze gently to remove the juice and seeds. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Place it in the center of the oven and bake until the skin pulls away from the flesh, about 10 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a rack. Set aside to cool.
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and remove the cores. Place the tomatoes in a food processor, and process until smooth. Strain through a finemesh sieve into a large bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice, salt, and chopped mint to the tomato puree, and stir until well blended.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (the sorbet mixture should feel cold to the touch). Then transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately.
Excerpted from Simply French by Patricia Wells Copyright © 2006 by Patricia Wells. Excerpted by permission.
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