Recipe courtesy of Quinn Hatfield
Hatfield's, Los Angeles
For the Flan:
2 lb. butternut squash
1 Pt. heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
6 ovenproof ramekins, 6-8 oz.
Split the squash lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle the cut sides with oil and season with salt. Place cut side up on a baking sheet in a 350˚F oven and bake about 1 hour until completely tender. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, being careful not to get any of the skin. Blend well in a food processor, reserve, and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
In a bowl combine the cream, eggs, yolk, salt and 1½ cup of the pureed squash. Pass the flan base through a fine strainer. Ladle 2-3 oz. flan base into 6 ovenproof serving ramekins so that the flan fills only about 1/3 of each ramekin. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and add hot water to the pan so that it comes halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and place in a 250˚F oven. Cook until the flans are set: there should be a slight jiggle in the center but not at all soupy. This can take 25-45 minutes; begin checking after 20 minutes and every 4-5 minutes thereafter to be sure you do not overbake the flans.
When set, remove the flans and keep at room temperature for up to 1 hour, or refrigerate.
To reheat the flan, place in a water bath just like the one used in the cooking process, but place in the oven on warm for 20-30 minutes. It is still possible to overcook the flan if it stays in too long, but once it is warm it will hold in the water bath, out of the oven and still covered, for about a half hour.
For the Soup:
1 head celery root
5 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
1 can coconut milk
12 very ripe Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp. butter
salt to taste
Quarter the tomatoes and run through a meat grinder or pulse in a food processor until chopped roughly. Stir in ½ tsp. salt.
Wet a large, clean kitchen towel and wring out all excess water. Place the towel in a large bowl with the edges hanging out of the bowl. Pour the ground tomato into the towel, being sure to add all the liquid. Pull the edges of the towel together to create a bundle and tie closed with a long piece of butchers twine. Find a place in your refrigerator to hang the bundle over the bowl so that it is not resting in the bottom. Tying a piece of butcher string to an upper shelf and putting the bowl on the bottom shelf usually works well. Hang for 8 hours or overnight. Reserve the tomato water, which should yield about 2 cups, and discard or use the tomato solids for another recipe.
Peel the celery root and cut into ½-in. dice. This should yield about 1 pint. In a 2 quart sauce pot with a lid, melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat and add the celery root and garlic cloves. Add 1 tsp. salt and stir. Turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid and allow the vegetables to cook slowly with no color at all, until completely tender. Transfer to a blender and puree until very smooth, adding about a cup of water if necessary to ensure the vegetables are able to blend well. This puree can be refrigerated for 1 day.
Transfer the puree to a sauce pot with equal parts tomato water and coconut milk. Warm gently over medium heat until at a bare simmer, being careful not to boil hard, and add salt to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve, up to 15 minutes.
For the Sweetbreads:
1 lobe sweetbread (about ½ lb.)
1 carrot, cut in 1-in. chunks
1 celery stalk, cut in 1-in. chunks
1 small onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
4 oz. boneless chicken breast
½-1 C. heavy cream
2 C. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
6 bamboo skewers
Place the raw sweetbreads in a large bowl or deep container, cover with 2 inches with cold water and refrigerate overnight. Drain the sweetbreads and place in a large saucepot with the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, thyme and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a bare simmer over medium heat; do not allow to boil. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the sweet bread is cooked through. It will feel firm and not too soft in the center when squeezed. Allow to cool in the liquid until room temperature, then pull the sweetbreads out and cool completely in the refrigerator on a plate. Discard the cooking liquid. Peel any membrane and fat from the outside and cut the sweetbread into twelve ¾ inch cubes and reserve.
Cut the chicken breast into small pieces and refrigerate until very cold. Place in a food processor and puree. Add the cream gradually while the processor is running until a mousseline is created. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides during the process. The finished consistency should be like thick whipped cream and very smooth.
Place the panko in a pie pan. Coat the sweetbread cubes evenly in the mousseline. Put the sweetbread in the panko, bury it and press well to ensure an even, complete crust.
Heat 2 quarts of oil in a large saucepot or stockpot to 375˚F. It is very important that the pot is large enough so that the oil is less than halfway up the side to prevent any possible boil over. Just before serving, fry the sweetbread until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil onto paper towels and season lightly with salt.
For the Mushrooms:
4 ounces hon shimegi mushroom
3 tbsp. butter
salt to taste
The hon shimegi mushrooms are usually sold in a cluster. Cut the base away to separate the individual mushrooms, leaving about ¾ inch of stem. In a sauté pan, melt the 3 tbsp. butter over medium heat until hot and foamy. Add the mushrooms and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, and allow the butter to brown gently and the mushrooms to pick up a roasted color. When they are tender and cooked all the way through, about 2-3 minutes, remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel.
To Complete the Dish:
The soup and flans can be hot and ready for 5 minutes while you cook the mushrooms and fry the sweetbreads. When all the components are hot and ready, divide the mushrooms evenly between the flan ramekins.
Using a hand held immersion blender, buzz the soup for 10 seconds to create a frothy foam; hold the sauce pot in one hand at a slight angle towards you and angle the blade of the blender slightly towards the opposite side, close to the edge of the pot.
Ladle the frothed soup over the mushrooms to cover, but leave about a half inch of space from the top.
Skewer two pieces of sweetbread in the center of each bamboo skewer. Place the skewer across the opening of each ramekin so that the crispy sweetbreads are suspended above the soup, only slightly touching the frothy top. This will keep them crispy and adds a dramatic element to the presentation. Serve immediately.