This is a truly sublime soup and one we have served plenty of times at the beginning of a dinner party.
It is from the famous Sydney restaurant, Banc.
We have served it both hot and cold and plenty of times, we have been asked for more. Indeed, we had a cook-off with a mate a few years back where we both did three courses each and this soup was a comprehensive point-scorer in my favour.
Here’s what the prep looks like when you’re cooking it for 31+ friends (!!!) at our long lunch/wedding:
Prepare it beforehand and chill in the fridge.
And seriously blow them all away.
4 fresh corn cobs
200gm diced onions
50ml diced butter
1 small bunch fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
The stock: Peel and remove all the outer stalks from the cobs. Using a knife, remove all the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve. Cut the cobs in half.
In a heavy-based pan, melt half the butter and add half of the diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing it to colour. Add the cobs and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes without browning.
Add 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the stock to infuse for a further 30 minutes before passing it through a fine sieve, discarding the cobs and onions
The soup: In a heavy-based pan melt the remaining butter and add the remaining diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing to colour. Add the corn kernels and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the corn stock and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes until the corn kernels are tender. Pour in the cream and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Add roughly chopped basil and season with salt and pepper. Leave the soup for at least an hour – ideally overnight in the fridge – to allow the flavours to infuse, before passing the soup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the corn to extract as much flavour as possible. Season once more and serve hot or cold.
I cooked this dish some years back and it is truly outrageous.
It is from that iconic Sydney restaurant of the 90s, Banc; an exquisite restaurant, a bastion to the Packers, their bankers and advisers. It was Rodney Adler’s restaurant which should provide some idea of the whole establishment.
From time-to-time you need to do a blowout dish. A dish that is so far from the ordinary of weekday cooking.
You do it for the fun of preparing it, you do it because we all need a dollop of foie gras and truffle in our lives from time to time and you do it because it is a gift to anyone lucky enough to join you for the meal.
And lucky they are. The beef and foie gras is like butter. The potato galette is the last word on potatoes. And served with the creamed spinach, the truffle and that ‘OMG’ sauce… OMG.
The photo above is from the Banc cookbook. I include it to give you some idea of not only how you might plate this, but of just how special it is.
Beef 4 x 180gm fillets of beef (eye fillet) 4 thin slices of prosciutto, large enough to wrap around the beef fillet 4 x 15gm slices of foie gras (ask your partner to buy this and hide in shame around the corner) 20gm foie gras trimming (basically, more foie gras) ½ tsp chopped truffle 25ml (5 tsp) vegetable oil 4 slices of truffle Salt and freshly ground pepper 4 x Potato Galette
3 large potatoes, cut into cylinders 120gm clarified butter Salt and freshly ground pepper 160gm Creamed Spinach
1 ½ kg fresh spinach 1 diced shallot 1 clove garlic ½ cup cream 20gm butter Salt and freshly ground pepper 100ml (7 tbsp) Périgueux Sauce
20ml (4 tsp) truffle juice 20ml (4 tsp) port 20ml (4 tsp) madeira 400ml beef base (essentially, a good beef stock based on a good veal stock) 25gm chopped truffles 20gm chilled, diced butter Salt and freshly ground pepper
Begin by preparing the Périgueux sauce:
In a small saucepan, reduce the truffle juice, port and madeira to a syrup over a medium heat.
Add the beef base and bring to the boil and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the chopped truffle. Whisk in the butter piece by piece until it is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and season.
Continue with the beef:
Using a sharp knife, make an incision in the centre of each piece of meat to form a pocket.
Mix the foie gras trimmings and chopped truffle together and divide between 4 pockets. Wrap each piece of beef in a slice of prosciutto to the hold the foie gras and truffle in place during cooking and tie with a piece of butcher’s twine.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Prepare the potato, where I have reproduced their notes as below:
“To make potato galettes, take large potatoes and slice the top and bottom ends off so that they stand upright on a chopping board. Take a 5cm diameter steel tube which has a sharp end on it and press through each potato to create a perfect cylinder. If you don’t have the correct implement for stamping the potatoes out, use a sharp knife to peel the potato and form it into a neat shape without washing too much flesh.”
Using the method above to make cylinders of potato, using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut the prepared potatoes into 3mm slices. You will need 18 thin slices for each of the galettes.
Place the potato slices onto a tea towel and pat try. Season with salt and pepper.
Each galette is prepared separately. For each one, heat 30gm of clarified butter in a blini pan. (Essentially, a small fry-pan about the size of a compact disc). Arrange one portion of potato slices in a circle, allowing the slices to overlap each other. (Essentially, you’re making a compact disc of potato with a hole in the middle).
Cook the potatoes over a gentle heat for 5 – 6 minutes until slices are crisp and golden brown, Carefully flip the potato over and cook for a further 5 – 6 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Lift the galette out of the pan and drain on paper towel. Lightly season and repeat for the other galettes.
These can be reheated in the oven closer to serving.
Pick the spinach, discarding all the stalks, then wash the spinach under cold water to remove any grit or sand.
Blanch the spinach, cooking for 1 minute in boiling salted water, then plunge into iced water to refresh, Remove from iced water and squeeze dry. Chop spinach very finely.
Place the cream in a saucepan with the glove of garlic, reduce by two-thirds and remove the garlic.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallots and sweat until softened. Do not allow the shallots to brown. Remove the shallots from the saucepan.
To serve, heat the cream in a saucepan, add the chopped spinach and shallot and warm through. Season to taste.
Continue with the dish:
In a heavy-based saucepan (which can go in the oven), heat the vegetable oil. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper and seal all over in the pan until evenly browned. Transfer to the oven and cook to your taste, though no more than medium-rare to medium or the foie gras will render down and leak out. Remove and set aside to rest in a warm place.
Warm the potato galettes on the oven. Reheat the creamed spinach and check the seasoning. Gently warm the sauce over a low heat.
Heat a non-stick pan on the stove. Season the foie gras slices lightly with salt and pepper and quickly sear the foie gras for 45 seconds on both sides.
When both sides are golden, carefully remove from the pan.
Place a slice of foie gras on top of each piece of beef and a slice of truffle on the foie gras.
To serve, spoon creamed spinach in the centre of each plate. Place a potato galette on top of the spinach and place the beef onto the potato galette. Spoon the Périgueux sauce over and around the beef.