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Thursday
Aug162012

« Recipe: Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Caviar »

Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Caviar

Adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller

Yield: 12 small or 6 large cups (see note below)

Ingredients

8 ounces cauliflower, cut into large florets and stems trimmed

2 T (1 ounce) unsalted butter

About 1 1/2 c water

1 c heavy cream

Kosher salt

1 1/3 gelatin sheets

Freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 ounces caviar

Instructions

Cut the florets of cauliflower vertically through the stem into 1/2 inch slices. Spread the cauliflower evenly in a medium saucepan and add the butter and 1 1/2 cup water, or enough to come just to the top of the cauliflower (it should not be completely submerged). Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until liquid is almost gone and the cauliflower is tender. Add the cream and simmer for another 10 minutes to reduce the cream and completely cook the cauliflower.

Transfer the cauliflower and cream to a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Strain through a chinois (or fine mesh strainer). There should be about 1 1/2 cup of puree. Taste for salt and add to taste.

Soak 1 gelatine sheet in cold water to cover for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. It should feel very soft, with no hard sections. Squeeze the excess liquid from the gelatin and stir it into the warm cauliflower mixture until dissolved.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the panna cotta into the bottom of each of twelve small serving bowls or small cups and refrigerate for at least an hour to set. This can be done several hours ahead.

Remove the oysters from the liquid (reserve for another use) and strain the juice. You will need 1/4 cup of oyster juice.

Place the remaining 1/3 gelatin sheet and 2 teaspoons water in a small metal bowl set over a pan of hot water; stir constantly to dissolve the gelatin. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the oyster juice. Stir again to be sure that the gelatin and juice are completely combined. Add about 3 grinds of the peppermill.

Place the oyster jelly in the refrigerator and stir occasionally until it has thickened  to the consistency of salad oil and the bits of pepper are suspended in the liquid. Coat the tops of the chilled panna cotta with 1 teaspoon of jelly each, rotating the bowls to ensure even coating. Return to the refrigerator until set or for up to one day.

To serve, garnish the top of each panna cotta with a quenelle, or small oval scoop, of caviar.

The blog post is here

Notes

Keller includes this recipe in the "canape" section of his book. Hence he recommends serving a small amount (2 Tbsp) in a shot glass. I opted to use it as a first course, so I doubled the amount and put them into small tea cups.

 

Gelatin sheets can be hard to find in the grocery store, but are available mail order from Amazon.  If you can't find them, you can substitute unflavored gelatin powder. The conversion ratio between gelatin sheets and gelatin powder is a hotly debated topic. However, this is the general rule of thumb: 4 sheets = 0.25 oz pkg (or 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 teaspons) of powdered gelatin.

This is a very interesting post by David Lebovitz, which discusses how to use both.