Thursday, May 24, 2007

Toothsome Victuals

I've been thinking about this dish for months- ever since I noticed that the cooked Lebanese couscous is the same size as petits pois sometime last winter while making soup. So I took the chicken broth and reduced it until I had just enough to fill 4 ramekins already filled with cooked couscous and peas, hoping that it would gel strongly enough to hold it all together once I unmolded it. While they were cooling off, I took the chicken meat and made chicken salad with scallions, ramps, and lots of chiffonaded sorrel, plus a vinaigrette with mustard, pesto, olive and truffle oils, and cider and balsamic vinegars. I made some carrot curls with the saladacco and tossed it all together, then put it back in the fridge to marry the flavors while the ramekins got cold enough to unmold.

The broth was just gelatinous enough, and they unmolded pretty easily. Surrounded with the chicken salad, and garnished with spicy microgreens and baby kale from the garden, they had all the richness of chicken noodle soup but were cool and clean and light for the end of a hot day. The salad had a nice clean comfort kind of flavor too, with creamy chicken, bright sorrel, and sharp alliums bumping another simple staple up a level or two. Another 2005 Turonia albariño showed very well with this dish, although I would have preferred rosé (but we're out again; I don't know how that keeps happening.)

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