A chilled soup to fortify your day and the perfect wines to take you into night
By Chef Peter Botros
NEEDFUL THINGS: CHINOIS SIEVE
Put simply, a chinois is a fine mesh cone shaped strainer. Also referred to as a “china cap” (though they’re technically two different tools), it does things a typical sieve cannot, such as strain stocks, sauces, soups, and other items that require extra smooth consistency. If making strawberry or raspberry puree or jam, for example, you’ll need one to get rid of seeds, and they are vital for removing bone fragments in stock. Chinois are often used in combination with a wooden pestle.
A good yet thrifty choice is this set from Farm to Table. Model 5292, it combines a stainless steel sieve with a pestle and stand (the last in chrome), with a long handle that allows it to rest on pots and large bowls. $30.99, amazon.com
Chef Peter Botros
2 large heads of cauliflower
1 large Vidalia onion
2 small heads of purple cauliflower
2 celery stalks
10 cloves garlic
1 quart cream
2 quarts heavy cream
1 cup milk Salt and white pepper
2 cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano Small bottle of white truffle oil
2 ounces Knox Gelatin Powder
For Panna Cotta
In large mixing bowl, dissolve two ounces of gelatin powder in a cup of milk and set aside. In medium sauce pan, combine a quart of heavy cream and a cup of Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir on low heat until fully melted/incorporated, then pull off heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour cream mixture into bowl with milk and gelatin and whisk thoroughly (no lumps). Spray mini mu n pan with cooking spray and in pour mixture. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
In large sauce pot, place celery, Vidalia onion, and cauliflower (roughly chopped) with one quart of heavy cream and simmer on low until veggies are soft. Blend mixture and run through a chinois strainer to ensure velvety smooth texture. Refrigerate overnight.
Place one panna cotta in center of soup bowl, pour chilled cauliflower soup around panna cotta, sprinkle with shaved purple cauliflower, and lightly drizzle with white truffle oil.
Chef Peter Botros
VALUE AND VIRTUE
When you think of summer, where do you want to be? I see myself on a boat or by the pool, a glass of wine in hand. Happily for my profession, in the last few years consumers have become more knowledgeable about wine regions that make great summer varieties like Albariño from Rias Baixas in Spain, Etna white blends from Sicily, or aromatic rosés from Provence (Fleurs de Prairie seen here, on The Stone House at Clove Lakes wine list) all excellent paired with salads, seafood, and duck and chicken dishes. Full of mineral flavors (manifesting on the taste buds as just a bit salty), they often offer fruit notes and lovely stony aromas, and are a perfect balance of spiciness and freshness. These qualities are in part a result of growing proximity to sea water, plus elevation, fog, and soil characteristics. Better yet, they are typically terrific values. Sparkling wine enthusiasts will note that Champagne from Ay and Verzy (both in the Marne department of northeastern France) is both lovely and a similarly good buy. by Roberto Hernandez, beverage director of all restaurants listed below and Certified Sommelier at Violette’s Cellar, Chef’s Loft, and The Stone House