A mirepoix is traditionally a roughly chopped vegetable mixture of onions, carrots, and celery, in a ratio of two parts onions, one part carrots, and one part celery. Raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or olive oil, mirepoix is the flavor base for a wide range of stocks, soups, stews and sauces.
I recently learned a new technique for making and using it in a soup, and it occurred to me that we can do up a big batch of it and freeze it for “instant” use later.
Roughly chop enough carrots and celery for 1 cup of each, and chop 2 cups of onion.
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the carrots and give them a good, hard sear. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and celery. When the onions start to caramelize add 1 1/2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth. Simmer until the carrots are tender.
Dump the whole thing into your food processor and puree until smooth.
Spoon the puree into an ice cube tray and freeze until needed.
Last night I had a friend over after work. We drank a couple of beers and talked about food and cooking. He is going to come over next week to spend some time with me in the kitchen, I am going to teach him how I make some of my favorite dishes (yes, there will be pics and posts!).
I had him try some baby potatoes with garlic aioli – a recipe that I made out of a Tapas cookbook I picked up this weekend – and he just about fell over. It’s a dead-simple thing, making aioli, but getting the proportions right is the key.
This morning I woke up thinking about that aioli, and how would it taste if I subbed out the garlic for green onions? I let the thought simmer on the back burner of my mind while I took care of some housekeeping and decided to try an Experimental Recipe.
Extracting the Green Onion Flavor
The most important part of this experiment, for me, was getting the most flavor out of those fresh green onions. They are one of my favorite garnishes, with such a lovely green flavor and lightly pungent aroma.
I took five of them, cut them down to 2″ lengths, and put them in the NutriBullet with a 1/4-cup of water and about a 1/4 teaspoon of fresh-ground peppercorns (I am using a blend of Black, Pink and White peppercorns right now). I pureed this for about 40 seconds, making sure all of the stems were broken down.
The result was an intensely green onion-flavored froth with an amazing aroma.
The second step was to get some of that extra water back out of the puree. I put it into a small pan and reduced it on low heat for about five minutes, stirring gently to release the air. When it began to look more ‘liquid’ I took it off the heat to cool down to room temperature. I also stirred in one tablespoon of Champagne Vinegar so it could start working on permeating the onion puree.
Mixing Your Aioli
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 Green Onions
1/4 cup water
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons Canola Oil
Separate the yolk from a large egg and put it in a small dish to warm up to room temperature. When the yolk and puree are right, add them together in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice and whisk.
Note:When I initially made this I did not include the lemon juice. When I tasted the finished product I found it needed a little more ooomph, so I whisked in the lemon juice… Boom! Perfect.
Once the sauce has achieved a creamy, uniform consistency, start drizzling in your olive and canola oil while whisking briskly.
I had some blanched veggies left over from the other night’s dinner so I used them for dipping:
I have to say that it is simply amazing with the asparagus and the snap peas.
Last week the Lovely Bride and I took a 9-day vacation, away from the frozen forests of New Hampshire to the warm(er), sandy shores of the Carolinas.
We spent a couple of days in Charleston, SC, and had the opportunity to enjoy some amazing food. At The Ordinary we had a lovely dinner of small plates, paired with some wonderful local beers and (non-local) wines. One dish that really grabbed me was the Chilled Razor Clams:
On our return I decided to take a shot at re-creating this sauce. The following is my Experimental Recipe for this dish, I have only made it once and it could use a couple of tweaks. This is enough for two good-sized appetizer portions.
Start by roasting some garlic and 1/2 shallot in a little olive oil in the oven, 30 minutes at 350 degrees. While this is going you can prep the rest of the puree.
I used my new digital scale to record the measurements for this recipe, the units are in grams (no I’m not going to convert them). You can get an inexpensive digital scale at many department or specialty food stores (and I recommend that you do).
For making the puree I used my NutriBullet, as it does an amazing job of it!
1/4 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored 35g
1/3 Jalapeno pepper, seeded 12g
bunch of Cilantro leaves (no stems) 16g
1/4 yellow Bell pepper, seeded 38g
Peruvian Pink Rock salt 2g (this is optional, I picked this up at Southern Season and couldn’t resist trying it. You can use kosher salt)
1 Tbsp Apple Cider vinegar
1/8 tsp ground Cayenne pepper
roasted Garlic 3g
roasted Shallot 17g
leftover roasting oil 5g
Put all of this into your blender and puree:
Chop one scallion on the bias and dice up another 1/4 of the Granny Smith apple for garnishing the plate. Put all of these components in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
March in New Hampshire is no time to be looking for Razor Clams, so I substituted shrimp and the little scallops, about 1/4 pound of each. After they were peeled, rinsed and patted dry I tossed them into a skillet for a good sear on both sides.
When they are done take them out of the skillet and on a plate/container to be put into the fridge for chilling.
At dinner time spoon about three tablespoons of the puree into a small soup bowl, put some diced apple and chopped scallion on top, then add the shrimp and scallops. You can garnish with other items too, I used bell pepper rings, you can go with radish slices, maybe even a little sour cream.
When I make this dish again I am going to add more Jalapeno and Cayenne, to give it a bit more heat, probably double what I used here. The acid levels were good and the punch of the Cilantro was well-balanced by the apple and yellow Bell pepper. Maybe some Cayenne-infused sour cream on top…