Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sweet Omelette Soufflé with Camembert, Cranberry Compote and White Chocolate Crème








     Sweet Omelette Soufflé!
     From the late 1800's through the mid 1900's, nearly every fine dining restaurant offered elegant breakfast cuisine.  By the 1960's, nearly every fine dining restaurant in America abandoned breakfast cuisine in favor of focusing only on dinner service.  In modern times, there are relatively few fine dining restaurants in major cities that offer sophisticated breakfast cuisine.  An exception is New Orleans, where the tradition of classic gourmet brunch cuisine lives on.  Omelette Soufflé is still seen on menus in this city.
     Few modern chefs offer Omelette Soufflé on a menu, because Omelette Soufflé has been cast aside in favor of regular omelets that are easier to prepare.  In fact, it has been so many years since Omelette Soufflé has been in the limelight, that many modern chefs simply have never heard of this item.  

    Omelette Soufflé has an angelic texture that is very light and fluffy.  The airy light texture is achieved by incorporating the same techniques that are used to make a basic soufflé.  An Omelette Soufflé can be sweet or savory.
     Savory Omelette Soufflés are usually cooked till they are a pale yellow or golden bronze color.  Because the sugar in a Sweet Omelette Soufflé easily caramelizes, Sweet Omelette Soufflés are usually cooked till they are a golden brown color.  Adding something like cocoa powder to a Sweet Omelette Soufflé batter, will result in a very rich looking dark brown finish color.
     Omelette Soufflé can be presented many different ways.  Omelette Soufflé can be served flat or folded.  Petite Omelette Soufflés can be stacked and layered.  The Omelette Soufflé batter can even be baked in a ramekin or non-stick baking mold.  Omelette Soufflé presentations are nearly limitless!

     The mild sweet flavor of today's Omelette Soufflé compliments the flavor of the French Camembert Cheese.  Camembert is a soft French double cream cheese that is ripened a little quicker than Brie Cheese.  The Camembert in the Sweet Omelette Soufflé goes well with Cranberry Compote.  White Chocolate Sauce adds even more appeal!
     
     Cranberry Compote: 
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (2 generous portions)
     Fruit Compote can be made thick or it can be made syrupy for certain applications, like a Sweet Omelette Soufflé.
     Fresh cranberries or frozen whole cranberries can be used for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1/3 cup of sugar.
     Boil the sugar, till the water evaporates and the sugar enters the candy stages.
     Continue to cook the syrup till it is a light amber color.
     Step 2:  Immediately add 1 cup of cranberries.
     *The molten sugar will seize the cranberries and the sugar will stop cooking.  The color and flavor of the cranberries will be pulled into the molten sugar.  Do not stir or the sugar will stick to the spoon like candy.
     Step 3:  Wait till the sugar starts to return to a liquid state.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 4 spice cloves.
     Simmer and reduce till the syrup is a very thin consistency that can barely glaze a spoon.
     Step 5:  Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.  Discard the solid ingredients.
     Step 6:  Place the sauce pot of cranberry syrup over low heat.
     Add 2/3 cup of cranberries to the syrup.
     Simmer and reduce till the cranberries are tender and the syrup is a medium thin consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Keep the syrupy compote warm over very low heat.  (Add a splash of water, if the syrup is too thick.)
 
     White Chocolate Crème:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 ounces.  (Enough to garnish 2 Sweet Omelette Souffle.)
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Add 1/2 ounce of white chocolate.
     Step 2:  Stir as the chocolate melts and combines with the cream.
     Step 3:  Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce can glaze a spoon.
     Place the sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce cup warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
 
     Sweet Omelette Soufflé with Camembert Cheese: 
     This recipe yields 1 Petite Omelette Soufflé.  
     Step 1:  Place the whites and yolks of 2 large eggs into two separate mixing bowls.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to the egg yolks.
     Whisk till the yolks turn a pale yellow color and soft ribbons appear on the surface.
     Step 3:  Whisk the egg whites till medium soft meringue peaks appear.
     Step 4:  Gently fold the sweetened egg yolks into the meringue.  Try not to over-mix or the air bubbles will deflate!
     Step 5:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Pour the soufflé egg mixture into the hot pan.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the thickness.
     Step 6:  Cook the bottom half of the omelette is firm and it is a light golden color.
     Step 7:  Place a few thin slices of French Camembert Cheese on the omelette.  (About 1 or 2 ounces.)
     Step 8:  Immediately place the omelette pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the omelette puffs up and the eggs on the bottom half of the omelette are a golden brown color.
     *This only takes a few minutes, because the pan is already hot.  The object is to not overheat the Camembert or it will melt till it disintegrates. 
     Remove the pan from the oven and plate the omelette soufflé before it deflates!
 
     Sweet Omelette Soufflé with Camembert, Cranberry Compote and White Chocolate Crème:
     This recipe describes 1 Sweet Omelette Soufflé presentation.
     Step 1:  Fold the Sweet Omelette Soufflé in half, so the Camembert Cheese is in the middle.
     Slide the Omelette Soufflé onto a plate.
     Step 2:  Lightly dust the plate with 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Cranberry Compote over the omelette and onto the plate.
     Use a spoon to stream the thin streaks of the White Chocolate Crème on the omelette and plate.
 
     This is a decadent Sweet Omelette Soufflé that will please gourmand guests!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Breakfast Stack of Egg, Ham and Parmigiana Herb Polenta with Cayenne Grunion Crème





     A Delicious Napoleon Stack Breakfast!
     Breakfast should be taken seriously, just like lunch or dinner.  In modern times, very few fine dining restaurants serve breakfast.  To be honest, many modern fine dining chefs are rather snobbish about cooking breakfast.  In the old days of classic fine dining, serving a refined elegant breakfast was just as important as serving great dinner food.
     The bottom line is that many fine dining restaurant chefs are just too lackadaisical or too arrogant to bother with breakfast at all.  This trend has been going on for nearly 60 years and now most fine dining restaurants have completely locked themselves out of breakfast sales opportunities altogether.  Reality sets in quickly during bad economic times, like during the Great Recession of 2007.  Income from a fine breakfast might have saved many fine dining restaurants that closed their doors because consumers demanded value when there was no disposable money.  Breakfast used to be the best fine dining value and the profit margins were high.
     I have worked for chefs that have graduated from great cooking schools and most of those same chefs only offered boring standard American bacon & eggs style breakfast fare on a menu.  That is not what creativity is all about.  Breakfast is a great opportunity to think outside of the box, if you are a creative chef!
     The best chefs realize that breakfast customers are tired of the same old boring breakfast.  Fine dining customers want exciting breakfast fare that incorporates tasteful presentations.  Researching traditional international breakfast recipes, Escoffier breakfast entrée recipes and classic New Orleans fine dining breakfast recipes from the late 1800's is well worth the effort.  One look at how great breakfast food used to be, will prove that breakfast has a place in modern fine dining restaurants.  
     Honestly, breakfast does not have to be simple and boring!  Breakfast used to be a fine dining experience and it still can be!

     Béchamel Sauce:
     This recipe yields a little more than 1 cup.  (Only a couple tablespoons are needed for 1.breakfast stack.  Any extra béchamel can be chilled and saved for other recipes.)  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring, to make a roux.  (The roux should be shiny and not caky looking.)
     Constantly stir till the roux become a white color, with very little hazelnut aroma.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of milk while whisking.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Stir as the sauce heats and thickens to a very thin sauce consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add thick slice of onion.
     Add 1 spice clove.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg. 
     Step 4:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 5:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.
   
     Parmigiana Herb Polenta:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups of thick creamy polenta.  (Enough for 3 to 4 breakfast stacks.)
     Spoon Bread and Corn Meal Mush used to be breakfast items a long time ago.  Corn Meal Polenta is nothing more than a fancy Corn Meal Mush!  Polenta is not grits, because grits are made with ground Hominy, which is lime slake teated corn.  Hominy is a type of Nixtamal Maize.
     Step 1:  Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 3/4 of a cup of fine ground corn meal, while constantly whisking.
     Whisk till the polenta starts to absorb the liquid.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Continue to whisk till the polenta starts to looks creamy.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of fine grated imported Parmigiana Cheese while whisking.
     Whisk till the cheese combines.
     Step 5:  Add sea salt to taste.
     Check the consistency.  The polenta should be stiff enough to easily gather on a spoon.
     *Add a little bit of warm water if the polenta is too thick or simmer and reduce if the polenta is too thin.
     Step 6:  Place the polenta into a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep the polenta warm on a stove top or in a pan that sits in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Cayenne Grunion Crème:
     This recipe yields enough for 2 breakfast stacks.
     This sauce should be made shortly before serving.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of Béchamel Sauce.
     Add 2 tablespoons of thick sliced green onion top.  (Only the green part.)
     Add 1 to 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Step 2:  Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and check the consistency.
     *Add a splash of milk if the sauce is too thick.
     Step 3:  Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
   
     Breakfast Stack of Egg, Ham and Parmigiana Herb Polenta with Cayenne Grunion Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 breakfast entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 medium thin slices of ham, so the ham slices are about the same width as a poached egg.  (The ham slices should be no bigger than 3" wide and each slice should weigh about 1 1/2 ounces.)
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Grill the ham slices on both sides till they are lightly caramelized.
     Keep the ham warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Poach 1 large egg in gently boiling salted water in a shallow pan over medium heat. 
     Turn off the heat when the egg white is fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Pipe a 3" wide round flat shape of polenta on the center of a plate.
     Set the grilled ham slices on top of the polenta.
     Step 5:  Pipe a flat 3" wide round shape of the polenta on top of the ham.  (Be sure to make a flat top on the polenta to set the egg upon.)
     Set the poached egg on top of the polenta.
     Step 6:  Spoon the Cayenne Grunion Béchamel Sauce on the plate around the breakfast stack.
     Garnish the poached egg with 2 green onion slivers.
   
     Why settle for a boring breakfast when you can have a nice looking breakfast stack like this!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cilantro Cannellini Omelette with Avocado, Sauce Soubise and Brandied Green Peppercorns





     A Nice Gourmet Omelette!
     Fancy omelets never go out of style.  Omelette entrées can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Gourmet omelets can dramatically lower food cost in a restaurant. 
   Omelette cookery is an arena for creativity.  Part of creativity is deciding whether the omelette will benefit from lightly cooked eggs or eggs that have a little bit of golden color.  Eggs should be cooked to a color that is appropriate for the recipe or they should be cooked to the preference of the individual. 

     Today's omelette recipe does not have the easiest flavor combination to imagine.  All I can say is that the flavors go well together!  
     Sauce Soubise is a sweetened onion and shallot flavored béchamel sauce.  Soubise adds a nice contrast to savory entrées that have a delicate flavor.  Soubise actually tastes incredibly good with eggs, cilantro and avocado.  White kidney beans (cannellini) have a gentle neutral bean flavor.  Brine packed green peppercorns add zest.  
       

     Béchamel Sauce:
     This recipe yields a little more than 1 cup.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring, to make a roux.  (The roux should be shiny, not caky.)  
     Constantly stir till the roux becomes a white color, with very little hazelnut aroma.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/4 cup of milk while whisking.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Stir as the sauce heats and thickens to a very thin sauce consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 of a spice clove.
     Add 1 small laurel leaf.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1 tiny pinch of nutmeg. 
     Step 4:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Set the sauce aside.     

     Sauce Soubise:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.  
     The sweet flavor should be delicate and not overpowering.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 minced shallot.
     Step 2:  Gently sauté and sweat the onions till they are very tender.  (Do not brown the onions!)
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
     Add béchamel sauce.  (About 1 cup.)
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a medium thin sauce consistency that easily coats a spoon.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter while whisking.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Press as much of the onions as you can through the strainer into the sauce.  
     Scrape the bottom of the strainer into the sauce.  Discard the coarse onion pieces that remain inside the strainer.
     Step 5:  Keep the soubise sauce warm over very low heat.

     Cannellini Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 omelette!  
     Canned Cannellini are fine for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of canned cannellini in a strainer.
     Rinse the beans under cold running water.
     Step 2:  Place the white beans in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Heat the cannellini over medium low heat.
     Simmer till almost all of the liquid evaporates.
     Keep the cannellini warm on a stove top. 

     Brine Packed Green Peppercorns Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 omelette!
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of water.
     Add 8 to 10 brine packed green peppercorns.
     Add 1 tablespoon of brandy.
     Step 2:  Gently heat the peppercorns.
     Simmer and reduce, till almost all of the liquid evaporates.
     Keep the brandied peppercorns warm on a stove top.

     Cilantro Cannellini Omelette with Avocado, Sauce Soubise and Brandied Green Peppercorns:
     A petite omelette is 2 eggs.  For a full omelette portion use 3 large eggs.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of milk.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Whisk the eggs till they are foamy.
     Add about 2 tablespoons of torn cilantro leaves while stirring.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Add the warm cannellini beans.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Sauté till the bottom of the omelette becomes firm.
     Step 4:  Flip the omelette.
     Sauté till the omelette is fully cooked and light golden highlights appear.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Fold the omelette while sliding it onto a plate.
     Step 6:  Spoon a generous amount of the sauce soubise over the omelette and onto the plate.
     Fan 5 overlapping slices of avocado on the center of the omelette.
     Garnish the avocado with 3 thin strips of red bell pepper.
     Place the brandied green peppercorns on the avocado garnish.
     Garnish the plate with cilantro sprigs. 

     Viola!  An elegant omelette for those who prefer gentle breakfast flavors.