As I’ve written before in this space, there are some recipes that I really struggle with as I go along. Actually, while I sit here writing this, I am stumped on a dish I’m making later today.
When it came to matching Bambi with a recipe, I knew immediately. It’s one of the ideas I had that convinced me this whole she-bang could actually work out. And it gave me the opportunity to stick my toe into the Molecular Gastronomy pool once again.
I wanted to make a fully vegetarian dish, utilizing the diets of the white-tailed deer and the rabbit. I also wanted this bowl to look like a walk in a forest.
I started by making a thick, rich corn soup. To that, I added extra fresh raw corn, fresh ribboned carrots, sliced radishes, and roasted soybeans. I made a quick pesto with the radish tops, and broiled some red seedless grapes on the vine. Finally, I crisped up some tiny pumpernickel croutons in salted butter and topped the whole thing with my olive oil snow.
That’s not a thing, you say?
Maltodextrin Tapioca is a product I had been itching to try out ever since I saw it on Top Chef years ago. It is a funny little powder that will absorb the liquid you add into it, resulting in a powder that tastes like a liquid. Clear as mud, huh? I stirred a tiny amount of good quality olive oil into my tapioca powder until it absorbed completely, leaving a white powder that tasted like olive oil.
All of this sounds kinda weird, I get it. When I described it to my partner-in-crime, I was met with some gentle trepidation. He will eat anything that I put in front of him, but he was a little nervous about grapes in his soup. But it ended up being awesome!
But now I’ve got to stop shooting my mouth off and get to cooking!
Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Grapes and Soybeans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12-14 ears of corn, shucked
3 tablespoons butter
Carefully cut the corn off of the cob. Place 1 cup of fresh corn kernels off to the side to use for plating. Place the butter in a large stockpot and melt. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add the rest of the corn and all of the cobs and cover with water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes. Strain out the water, but save it for the blending. Discard the cobs and place the corn and 6 cups of the hot corn water into a blender and puree ( my blender actually has a ‘soup’ setting), working in batches if necessary. At this point, I strained the soup through a fine mesh strainer. This step is not needed, but will make your soup much, much smoother. Pour the soup into a pan and keep it warm on the stove until you are ready to serve. It can also be made in advance and chilled.
*It can also actually be served cold if that’s your jam
8-10 slices pumpernickel bread
4 tablespoons butter
Finely dice pumpernickel bread into tiny cubes. Place the butter in a saute pan and melt over low heat. Add the bread cubes and stir completely to coat in the butter. Cook over medium heat until the bread gets crispy. Remove the bread from the pan and set aside until you are ready to use it.
Radish Top Pesto
1/2 cup Radish tops, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until pureed. Set aside until you are ready to use.
8-10 bunches of red seedless grapes, washed and still on the vine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Place the grapes on a baking sheet and brush them with a coating of vegetable oil. Place them under the broiler in the oven for several minutes. This will not take very long, so don’t wander away. They will smoke quite a bit, but you are waiting until the skin begins to blister. Once that happens, remove them from the oven and set them aside until you are ready to use them.
Olive Oil Snow
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup maltodextrin tapioca
Mix together with a fork until they create a thick powder substance. Set aside until you are ready to use.
Putting It All Together
5-6 radishes, washed and thinly sliced
1 carrot, washed and peeled into thin ribbons
8-10 ounces fresh corn kernels
1 small bag roasted soybeans
Radish Top Pesto
Olive Oil Snow
Fresh Flat Parsley Leaves
Place vegetables in bottom of bowls. Ladle generous serving of soup over the top. Garnish with pesto, broiled grapes, roasted soybeans, pumpernickel bread, fresh parsley leaves, and olive oil snow.
While this dish seems a little odd at face value, it was quite tasty. My husband, he who was so nervous about grapes, had two bowls full. I wanted it to feel like a walk in the forest, and it did. I hope you give it a chance. It’s visually striking and a great dish of food. And it has a happier ending than the movie that inspired it…