Have you heard of Taste of the Nation? Benefiting Share our Strength, which aims for “No kid hungry”, Taste of the Nation brings together some of the nation’s hottest chefs and mixologists for a night of great food and drinks. 100% of the proceeds go toward the goal of “No kid hungry”, and that is certainly something we can all get behind.
As part of our invitation to the event, we received a recipe for Asparagus Veloute.
On a beautiful, trying to fool us into thinking it was spring, day last week, I met Michelle and Megan for some fun at Whole Foods. Oh yeah, and we were there to pick up ingredients for the veloute too. I tend to get very distracted in Whole Foods, and that day was no different. The complete recipe is at the end of the post. We made a few substitutions, but overall we stayed within the concept which was a cold, creamy asparagus soup topped with pickled radishes and fried garlic.
When we got back to Megan’s house, we started off the afternoon right with some cheese and bread, fig jam, and of course wine.
With lots of giggling in the way, we got started on the recipe, which was very simple. I cleaned the asparagus and broke off the tough ends.
Michelle worked on the pickled radish garnish.
A simple mix of radishes, vinegar, and sugar made for a nice, crunchy soup garnish.
The soup itself was made by cooking the asparagus for five minutes, then cooled then rapidly in an ice bath. Once cool, we added the asparagus to cream that had been simmering on the stove.
I chopped up thin slices of garlic, and Michelle braved the hot oil to fry them up.
Gunner was quickly bored by our human activities, but he napped close by, keeping a watchful eye, just in case a morsel fell to the floor.
When it was time to serve up the soup, we gathered our garnishes and served up the pretty, spring-like veloute in white bowls.
The garnishes really made the soup. The pickled radishes, though they smelled kind of strange, provided a crunchy, slightly sour, slightly sweet element, and the crispy garlic was just phenomenal. The soup itself was very green tasting, with the flavors of asparagus coming through loud and clear. I feel as though something else, some herbs or spices, stock, or maybe even another vegetable, would have added some oomph.
I didn’t fill up on too much soup because Megan, the amazing baker that she is, had baked up chocolate cupcakes with Flour espresso buttercream.
And there were candles for me to blow out!
We chowed down on the cupcakes, which offered the perfect level of sweetness for me, with Bailey’s on ice. Toward the end of the afternoon, we had a fun video chat with Boston-turned-Connecticut blogger, Alicia, where she gave us a tour of her new apartment. Technology can be so great!
It was a good day. It’s humbling and saddening the way cooking in the context of Taste of the Nation changed my perspective on food. I need to remember more that there are SO many people out there who are hungry while I have so much. I am happy that, even in a tiny way through this blog, that I can bring a bit of attention to the event and organization.
If you could see any chef or food from any restaurant at a Taste event, which restaurant (or dish or drink) would it be?
Taste of the Nation is coming to Boston April 14. Tickets can be purchased online. I would love to see you there!
Join us at Taste of the Nation Boston 2011!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
General Admission – 6:30 – 9:00pm
VIP Admission – 5:30 – 9:00pm
Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02115
Spring Asparagus Veloute, Pickled Black Radish & Crispy Garlic (Serves 4-6)
For the veloute
1 pound green asparagus (peeled)
1 quart heavy cream
Kosher Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
For the pickled radish:
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 black radish, washed and sliced into matchsticks
For the crispy garlic:
4 garlic cloves, as large as possible, peeled
1 cup olive oil
For the veloute: Bring large pot of salted water to boil and add asparagus. Cook until tender, about four
minutes. Transfer white asparagus to ice water bath. In same pot, cook green asparagus until tender and
transfer to ice water bath. In small pot, bring cream to simmer. Place asparagus in blender with cream
and puree until smooth. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper and strain through fine-mesh sieve. Let
For the pickled radish: in saucepan, bring sherry vinegar and sugar to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Place radish in bowl and cover with vinegar mixture. Let cool in liquid
For the crispy garlic: Using a small knife, slice the garlic very thin. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over
medium-high heat until very hot. Line a plate with two paper towels. To test the temperature of the oil,
add a slice of garlic. When it sizzles, add the rest of the garlic and cook until just crisp and light golden
brown, athis will only take a few seconds. Use a slotted spoon to keep the slices from sticking together
as they cook, and transfer them to the paper towels to drain once they change color. (The oil can be
strained and reserved for use as garlic oil.)
To Serve: Place the chilled veloute in a bowl and garnish with pickled radish and crispy garlic chips.