Sunday, August 06, 2006

Get Your Rage On

I read that it is all the rage in Paris.

Popping up in unexpected places.

Opening the door to even more creative (kooky) ideas.

So we had to try some. To get our rage on here. See what’s getting’ all those Parisians so excited.

Mustard Ice Cream.

It’s been around for a while. Served in some high-end restaurants starting a few years ago. I had taken note then. And put it on my list of things to make some day (a long list, so most things sadly never get made).

But hearing that it is all the rage gave me the impetus to actually make it.

The mustard ice cream is simple to make. Just an ordinary ice cream, with some honey instead of sugar, and once the custard is cooled some Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon) is stirred in. Everything cooled, then frozen in an ice cream maker.

The taste is more subtle than you might expect. More of a cream sauce with a touch of mustard. Not the overpowering mustard assault I had anticipated (feared). So anytime one might be looking for a subtle mustard cream sauce / dressing, this would work.

And, of course, you just need a bit. A half gallon lasts a while.

Naturally, unlike vanilla ice cream, this is a thing that goes with something else. I don’t think people are sitting down to a dish of mustard ice cream as a stand alone concept.

Chef Patricia Wells makes this ice cream to accompany an interesting gazpacho soup. And that seemed to match pretty well. So we went with that. Try it the ‘right’ way once, before branching out.

This gazpacho is smooth, not chunky. The ingredients are first processed in a food processor, and then strained through a sieve. With some effort, there was very little solids left in the sieve, mostly just the tomato peels and probably the bell pepper peels.

So you get a very smooth, medium thick gazpacho – full flavor – with a creamy smooth floater of mustard ice cream. I sprinkled some fresh chives on top. It went fast, always a good sign.

And it was east to make – just whirl everything in the food processor.

After trying it in the gazpacho – wonderful, by the way – I (note – not we) tried it with my scrambled eggs for breakfast. A stack of whole wheat toast, some slices of heirloom tomato, the scrambled eggs (smooth and creamy), a dollop of mustard ice cream, and a sprinkle of chives. Now that’s eatin’! Rich like hollandaise, but cool for the summer.

I can imagine quite a few places for this stuff in my summer menus. We will see how this plays out with the critics here!

Gazpacho with Mustard Ice Cream
From The Paris Cookbook, by Patricia Wells (HarperCollins, 2001).
Adapted slightly by surfindaave (the recipe I found online has some obvious errors)

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 red bell pepper, trimmed and quartered
1 green bell pepper, trimmed and quartered
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 plump fresh garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup best-quality sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Mustard Ice Cream (recipe follows)
Fresh chives chopped, as a garnish
Fresh chive scapes as garnish, if desired

Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and puree them. Then add the remaining ingredients, except the ice cream, and puree (for a long time!). Taste for seasoning. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on the solids, discarding the solids that remain in the sieve. Transfer the soup to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve it in chilled bowls, with a spoonful of Mustard Ice Cream, the chive scapes and a sprinkle of chives if desired.
8 servings

Mustard Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from several I found online by surfindaave

6 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp French Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey

Place the egg yolks and honey in a medium-size bowl and whisk to blend. In a heavy saucepan, cook the milk and cream over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges (180ºF on a candy thermometer). Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan. Rinse out and dry the mixing bowl, then set a fine mesh sieve on top. Set it aside.

Place the saucepan over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir the sauce gently but consistently, sweeping the entire pan bottom and reaching into the corners. As soon as the sauce is slightly thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir gently for 2 minutes to complete the cooking. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream and register around 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. When the mixture has cooled somewhat, whisk in the mustard. When the mixture is thoroughly cooled, transfer it to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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