Essence: recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage by David Everitt-Mathias
If you haven't heard of David Everitt-Mathias I wouldn't be surprised. But ask any leading chef in Britain - including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, who have both paid tribute to him in this book - and they certainly will.
Everitt-Mathias is not one to seek the limelight, although with two Michelin stars he has plenty to boast about. He doesn't do telly. He doesn't pop up in all the food mags. He doesn't in fact leave his kitchen unless he absolutely has to. If he isn't there the restaurant closes. He sets impossibly high standards of himself and his staff - and of his customers too. Don't wander in off the street expecting a table even if there's one free or turn up late for your booking. He feels he deserves the respect of being allowed to show what he and his kitchen can do - and fair enough.
He cooks some of the best food in Britain and this book tells you how to do so too should you be ambitious enough to attempt it. It's not for beginners - it's for experienced home cooks and fellow chefs. That's not to say there aren't recipes you can do quite easily like this simple and delicious soup - or take an element out of one of the more complicated recipes and tackle that. There's a fabulous-looking pistachio cake, for example, that I can't wait to try. But if you really want to rachet your cooking up a notch or two this is the book to buy.
Jerusalem Artichoke and Almond Soup
This is a very simple and satisfying soup. Jerusalem artichokes have a
natural affinity with nuts. If you wanted to add another dimension, you
could toast a few almonds, infuse them in some seasoned boiling milk, then
strain the milk and froth them up for a topping on the soup. You could even
use the soup as a base for seared scallops, tiger prawns or langoustines.
Small Jerusalem artichokes can just be scrubbed but larger ones will need
600g Jerusalem artichokes
juice of 1/2 lemon
125g unsalted butter
100g onions, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
750g chicken stock (pages 23–24)
50g toasted almonds
100ml double cream
Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and put them in a bowl of cold water
acidulated with the lemon juice (this will prevent them discolouring).
Melt 75g of the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan, add the onions and
celery and sweat for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Drain and
slice the artichokes, add them to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then add
the stock, milk and toasted almonds. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30
minutes, until the artichokes are soft. Pure in a blender and pour through
a fine sieve into another pan. Bring to the boil, then whisk in the cream
and the remaining butter a little at a time. Season to taste and serve.
What to drink:
David and his wife Helen, who puts together the winelist recommend a modest white burgundy like a Macon-Uchizy from Telmond with this soup or, alternatively a really dry nutty sherry
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