Monday, August 23, 2010

Composed Cheese Course

Just another reason to love and trust Thomas Keller....

When I placed these dishes in front of our guest, everyone seemed to think they were lovely (I did), but as I explained to them that what we had was a raisin puree, topped with a shaved carrot salad dressed in a carrot juice reduction, layered with Gruyere and a side of powdered carrot, some of the smiles kind of seemed a little frozen. I defended my dish by saying.... "It's from French Laundry, it has to be good," and it was.

The thing I like the most about this dish is that it looks all fussy and time consuming but it's not at all, and it was all prepped in advance and then plated right before serving... LOVE IT!

First I got to use my handy dandy shiny new juicer to produce 3/4 cup of carrot juice

Which if you reduce as instructed will do some funny things.... first all of the carroty parts separate out so you have this brightly colored liquid

Then all that bright carroty stuff becomes almost like a solid on top and you can actually strain it off, I used a wok like skimmer thing which isn't super fine mesh so it didn't strain it perfect, but you can't tell at the end, so I'm not worried.

You also get to play with your husband’s old school antique mortar and pestle after dehydrating the carrot (read the recipe people... don't be like me.... that says LOW on microwave for 40 minutes... LOW... not HIGH for 2 minutes or until you smell smoke)... I managed to save it in the end. Place this stuff in the mortar and pestle and smash it to bits. Then clean above wok thing and use it to sift the smaller pieces of the carrot power into a container


Carrot Powder Recipe:

1/2 cup very finely chopped carrots (chopped in a food processor; or use the pulp left after juicing the carrots... that's what I used it was perfect as it has almost no juice left at that point)

Squeeze the carrots in a towel or blot on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Line a microwave tray with a piece of parchment paper and spread the carrot on it in a thin, even layer. Microwave on low power for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are completely dried out. Let cool to room temperature.

Grind the carrots to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. Store in a covered plastic container.

Toast Spices

Combine carrot juice with toasted and ground spices

Corsu Vecchiu with Spiced Carrot Salad and
Golden Raisin Puree
Adapted French Laundry


1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
One 1-inch long piece cinnamon stick or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cups carrot juice (from about 1 1/4 pounds carrots, or purchased)
1/2 cup golden raisins
Juice of 1/2 lemon
One 8-ounce wedge Corsu Vecchiu or Gruyere, Emmenthal, Mahon or Petite Basque, rind trimmed
3/4 cup shredded sweet bunch carrots
*2 teaspoon Brunoise
Kosher salt
6 sprigs Chervil (skipped this too, only because I have never seen Chervil in Nebraska)
Carrot powder (recipe above)

*Recipe in the French Laundry Cookbook, but it's adds so much extra work so I skipped it and used a little chopped chive for color, not sure if a smidge of parsnip and such would make a taste difference... probably but it was good without it. I'd give you the recipe but I happened to get the cookbook from the library to preview before purchasing and then had to laugh that I would never have time to make even one of those dishes. This week I took out Bouchon instead... that one has promise for the kind of cooking I do lately.  I'm sure you could google the recipe.  I know one of the bloggers I follow did a French Laundry blog where she cooked everything in there so it has to be out there somewhere.


Cutting the cheese into thin slices for serving allows more air to circulate around it; oxygen brings out the flavor of cheese, as does the proper temperature. The perfect temperature for cheese is 65-70-F.

Heat the spices together in a small pan until fragrant. Place in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. You will have about 2 1/2 tablespoon spice mix. Store in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for longer.

Strain carrot juice into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for about 1 minute. Skim off the scum that has risen to the top, strain the juice again, and simmer for about 10 minutes for about 10 minutes longer, or until reduced to 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons. Add a pinch of the spice mix and set aside.

Place the raisins in a saucepan. Cover completely with water add lemon juice, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes just until plump. Turn off the heat and let the raisins sit in the liquid for a few minutes. Place the raisins in a blender with enough of the cooking liquid to allow them to turn and blend to a puree. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer (this didn't work for me; I just used the puree as is).

Cut the triangle into 30 thin triangles. Fan the triangles out so they get the air needed to develop flavor.

To complete... combine the shredded carrots with the carrot reduction and the brunoise in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste. Place about 1 tablespoon of raisin puree in the center of each plate. Top each with a haystack of carrot salad. Set a fan of cheese on top of each carrot salad, and top with a sprig of chervil. Sprinkle a line of carrot powder down the side of each plate.

1 comment:

  1. Where do you find the time. :) You are an amazing woman!!!!!