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CSA Cookoff (Dinner party): Sweet corn bisque with lobster, simple beets and Tuscan panzanella salad

Parker Farm CSA share: 1 bunch beets, 1 pint tomatillos, 1 pound plum tomatoes, 1 head red cabbage, 1 bunch swiss chard, 2 pounds potatoes(red gold) 1 bunch spring onions and 12 ears of corn.


First off: this was a special occasion. Secondly: This bisque is a lot of work, so I started making it the day before by boiling and shelling the lobster. With that out of the way, the day-of muscle was used for getting 12 ears of corn stripped of their kernels and food milling, milling, milling. Our dinner guests, Mike and Heather, are amazingly talented (he an artist, she a pastry chef) and are worth one thousand times the effort.

Sweet Corn Bisque With Lobster


Bisque:

12 ears sweet corn, uncooked kernels removed from cobs

1 C vegetable or lobster stock

2 yellow carrots, roughly chopped

2-3 ribs celery, roughly chopped

one medium spring onion, roughly chopped

1 1/2 T. unsalted organic butter

one vanilla bean, sliced in half lengthwise

6-10 peppercorns

1/2 C heavy cream


Lobster:

Two 1 1/2 pound Atlantic lobsters, boiled for 8 minutes in sea-water-salty water, shelled, meat chopped into 1" pieces, shells reserved and roasted for stock. I was inspired by this lusty blog post about the Brooklyn Underground Lobster Pound guy. He adds vegetables to his lobster boiling water.

One stick unsalted organic butter


Special equipment needed: Blender, food mill, lobstah crackahs


1. In a heavy soup pot, saute onion, celery and carrots in butter until softened, but not browned.

2. Throw in vanilla bean and peppercorns and stir to begin releasing vanilla aroma.

3. Add corn kernels and stock and bring to a simmer, covered.

4. Stirring occasionally, stew corn mixture for 8-10 minutes until just cooked through.

5. Remove from heat, and leave covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and let cool a bit.

6. Remove vanilla bean. In batches, blend corn mixture until smooth.

7. If desired, and feeling particularly fancy, process puree through a food mill, reserving solids for another use (I think I'll try corn cakes). This can be done several hours before serving.

8. Gently reheat bisque, being careful not to let boil, add cream just before ladling into bowls.

9. Melt one stick butter in a saucepan. Keeping butter hot, but not enough to burn, add lobster meat and toss until just heated through. The meat should be well-salted from the cooking water, but test a piece just to be sure (chef's score!)

10. Ladle bisque into bowls and garnish with lobster meat and chopped chives



Tuscan Panzanella Salad (Bread and Tomato salad)

(Photo fail. It was so pretty - with the various tomato colors, golden bread and bright green basil - and so good, but it was a party and I flaked on taking the final photo)


3-4 Heirloom tomatoes, chopped

one ciabatta, or other similar Tuscan-style bread, cubed

1/3 cup kalamata or Nicoise olives

2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste with one teaspoon salt

1/4 cup excellent extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup shredded basil leaves

salt and pepper


1. Toast bread cubes on a baking sheet in a 350° oven for 8-10 minutes until golden.

2. Whisk together garlic, oil and vinegar, set aside

3. Combine tomatoes, bread and olives in a large bowl and toss with dressing, salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

4. Just before serving, stir in basil.


Simple beets were boiled, peeled and sliced, salted and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, then garnished with chopped chives. Sliced spring onion was on the side.


Heather made a Breton Butter Cake (yum - and available at Clear Flour Bread) garnished with Stillman Farm blueberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream.


Good times, good food, good wine, good night!


Views: 342

Comment by Heather Flansworth on August 7, 2010 at 11:20am
First I'm swooning over lobstermen, now I'm swooning over all this food! This looks amazing, sooooooo jealous!!!! If my beets come up I'm totally going to have to try those too!
Comment by Rachel Brownlee on August 9, 2010 at 9:49am
That bisque looks amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

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