Gold Medal Plates: Chef Quang Dang from West Restaurant
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012 10:28AM PST
Agassiz Chestnut Soup with Oyama Shinken Speck, Croutons + Thyme Crème Fraiche
- 1 Lb fresh, toasted and peeled chestnuts (peeled or canned will work)
- 1 whole white onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ fresh vanilla pod, split and scraped
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 cup white wine
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt to taste
- 3 slices white bread, diced into cubes
- 6 slices Shinken speck, julienned
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
- 4 Tbsp butter
- salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- 3 cups cream 35%
- 1 cup buttermilk - cultured
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped
Preheat a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat and then add the butter, onions, garlic, thyme and vanilla, sweating until the onions become translucent. Deglaze with white wine and cook until the wine is fully reduced. Add the water, cream and chestnuts and simmer until the chestnuts are so tender that they fall apart. Season with salt to taste. Some chestnuts may be a bit dryer than others, simply add a bit more water if necessary.
Allow to cool, and then using a high-speed blender or a stick blender, blend soup until it is fully incorporated and smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the grape seed oil. Add the shinken speck, bread, and garlic. Slightly shake the sauté pan while the croutons and butter acquire a "foamy" look. Season with salt and pepper while the croutons are becoming crispy. Once the bread turns golden brown and the croutons are crispy, strain through a colander and then transfer onto a piece of paper towel to soak up the excess fat.
Mix all ingredients and leave in a warm place for 12 to 48 hours.
Cover with a damp cheesecloth to let the cream breathe and then refrigerate when ready. Prior to serving, mix with chopped thyme. Enjoy!
Pour soup into bowls and garnish with shinken speck, croutons and crème fraiche. Enjoy!