The flavor of char on vegetables is second to none. Particularly when the vegetables are alliums. Our grilled potato ice cream is delicious, though there inevitably comes a time when a great recipe needs to be tucked aside, allowing room for the growth and development of new dishes. While we were willing to shelf the potato ice cream, we were not willing to let go of of the caramelized vegetable note. A flavor that resonates with me is that of charred leeks, melting and soft, rich in aroma, and sweet as any vegetable may be. In order to capture this new ingredient we set about making ice cream. The custard base, which contained cast iron charred leeks, was cooked sous vide for thirty minutes at 82 degrees C. We cooled the base and let it rest overnight. The following morning we pureed and strained the ice cream base and then placed it in a Pacojet canister to freeze.
The purpose for making charred leek ice cream, like many of our savory ice creams, was to support and highlight caviar, really cured wild American fish roes. The charred leek preparation is the base for a wild char roe presentation. A few other supporting elements bring the dish together: maple pickled potatoes, lime zest infused Asian pear-apple, and celery pearls. It took far longer than we planned to refine this dish and the harmony of flavors, aromas, and textures contained in these few mouthfuls was well worth the effort. I really enjoyed the ice cream itself and how it captured my memory of charred leeks in a concentrated and slightly different form. It's one of thoe dishes that we both tasted and loved, and that's all I really need to say about that.