I recently realized that not a single Thomas Keller recipe has been featured on this blog yet. It's certianly time to change that! Keller, the renowned celebrity chef and owner of a number of world famous restaurants, including The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and his newest restaurant, Ad Hoc, which opened in 2006. I have been to Bouchon and hope to make it to Ad Hoc on my next trip to Napa Valley. I have not been to Per se or the French Laundry, as reservations there will set you back quite a few pretty pennies, but they have earned their reputations as some of the best restaurants in the world according to my friends who have dined there. I am very excited about Thomas Keller's new cookbook, Ad Hoc At Home which brings Thomas Keller's celebrity kitchen to the everyday chef in a more accessible manner. Sure, the French Laundry cookbook looks absolutely amazing, but even I was too intimidated to make the $70 investment in the book and the time investment required to make any of the recipes inside. Never mind - Ad Hoc At Home makes Thomas Keller accessible to the proletariat. My first recipe from the cookbook, the Cream of Califlower Soup With Red Beet Chips was a huge success. I plan to make his caramelized scallops next. Please note that I am posting the full soup recipe, but I halved the recipe to serve two, which was perfect for our dinner!
Ad Hoc At Home's Cream of Cauliflower Soup With Red Beet Chips
2 heads of Cauliflower
4 T butter
3/4 cup chopped leeks
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 tsp curry powder (Keller only uses 1/4, but I like a bit more curry)
2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
2 cups water
2 cups heavy cream
canola oil for deep frying the beets
1 tsp white vinegar
croutons (I didn't make my own like Keller suggests, I just used Mrs. Cubbison's store bought croutons)
1 medium red beet
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Add the onion, leek, curry and cauliflower to the pot and season with 2 tsp of salt. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium heat for twenty minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.
Add the milk, cream and water and increase heat to medium high. Then reduce to a simmer, and simmer the contents for thirty minutes, skimming off the foam occasionally. Then allow the soup to cool for about five or ten minutes, and puree in the blender.
To prepare the beet chips for the garnish, fill a pot with an inch of canola oil. Slice the beet super thing with a mandolin and fry for a couple minutes in the oil. The place the fried beets on a paper towel to allow the oil to run off. The beets are absolutely necessary to make the soup work, so don't skip this part, even if you are wary of beets (like my husband was). The purpose of the beets is threefold - they add texture, color and a bit of sweetness. Yum!
To prepare the reserved cauliflower garnish, take the cauliflower you set aside and boil in some water with salt for five minutes until the florets are tender, along with a teaspoon of vinegar. The vinegar will allow the florets to retain their white color. Then, drain the florets and saute in a tablespoon of butter.
Serve the soup with the florets, croutons and beet chips, and season with pepper. This recipe was fabulous!