Seasonal food is one of the key principles of the Lefay Vital Gourmet philosophy. Seasonal eating is good for both us and the planet. Favouring local seasonal products and ingredients, in fact, primarily allows our bodies to take in macro- and micronutrients to cope with the season we are living in. Furthermore, making conscious food choices supports the community, values local suppliers, shortens the supply chain and ensures the consumption of unprocessed food. Not to mention better taste.
This is the reason why all Lefay Vital Gourmet dishes are made with seasonal ingredients. “The Peak” tasting menu at the Grual Restaurant, for example, which uses products from local suppliers following the altimetry of the territory, begins with an artichoke starter. The artichokes are harvested in spring and autumn, depending on the plant, especially in Italy, the world’s biggest producer of green vegetables. This is how it was interpreted by our Executive Chef Matteo Maenza.
ARTICHOKE CHAWANMUSHI, MANDARIN AND MONTANARO STRAVECCHIO CHEESE
Ingredients for Chawanmushi:
− 1 kg of clean and boiled artichokes (in the cooking water add parsley, bay leaf, a little white wine and olive oil)
− 550 g artichoke cooking water
− 225 g of extra virgin olive oil
− 20 g salt
Procedure for Chawanmushi: Blend everything in a blender and then pass through a chinois. Stir in 1.5 g of agar-agar for each kg of artichoke cream. Bring to the boil and pour into serving dishes (55 g) and leave to set. Regenerate in the steam oven at 60°\70° covered with foil.
Ingredients for Mandarin Reduction:
− 2 kg of mandarins or clementines
Procedure for Mandarin Reduction: Squeeze the mandarins, take all the juice and pass it through the chinois. Take 2 litres of juice and bring it to the boil until 300 g of reduction is obtained; the consistency should be like that of treacle.
Ingredients for the Montanaro Stravecchio cheese sauce:
− 300 g of cream
− 300 g of finely grated Montanaro Stravecchio cheese
Procedure for Montanaro Stravecchio cheese sauce: Put hot cream and grated cheese in the thermomix and blend together at maximum speed until melted. Pass it through the chinois and put it aside.
Ingredients for the vegetable stock:
− 3 kg Jerusalem artichokes
− 1 kg yellow onions
− 30 g parsley stalks
− 3 cloves of garlic
− 500 ml white wine
− 70 ml of white port
− 1 l of water
Procedure for the vegetable stock: Cut Jerusalem artichokes into equal size pieces, place on a baking tray and toast in oven at 220° for 20-30 minutes until toasted. Julienne the onions and lightly brown them in a pan with oil, parsley stems and garlic. Then add the Jerusalem artichokes and brown on high heat for 5-10 minutes, then blend with the white wine and white port. Once the alcohol part of the wine has evaporated, add water and let it slowly simmer for at least 3-4 hours, skimming from time to time. Sieve and pass through a cheesecloth, bring it slowly to the boil until it reaches desired consistency, if necessary, pass through the cheesecloth again to make it clear and glossy. Set aside.
To assemble and serve:
Regenerate the film-covered chawanmushi in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Drizzle the warm mandarin reduction, the Montanaro Stravecchio cheese and vegetable brown sauce on the surface of the chawanmushi. Finally decorate the dish with marigold flower and herbs and fried artichoke chips.