A work in progress may be exciting and equally daunting. The excitement comes from the initial spark, the idea, the first tastes, the tweaking of flavors and aesthetics. The daunting emerges in the integration and development of the final dish. The idea for walnut soup stemmed from my tastes for wet walnuts on ice cream sundaes. I wanted to capture the rich nuttiness of those nuts which are enriched with a dark caramel like syrup. We started by slowly roasting walnut halves until they were a foxy brown. Once the nuts were roasted we covered them with water and added barley malt syrup, cane syrup and salt. We stirred the mixture together and then placed the mix in the refrigerator for the nuts to soften and the flavors to blend. Initially, I planned on soaking the nuts for one day.
Time got away from me and the nuts soaked longer than I anticipated, five days. What happened in the extended soaking is that the flavors harmonized and the rich toasty nuts and the malt notes balanced while the tannic nature of the walnuts mellowed. We took the nuts and the infused water and pureed them together into a smooth soup. Once the mixture was completely smooth we strained it to remove any particles which avoided the blender blades. The finished soup captured the idea of the wet nuts, while still remaining grounded on the savory side of food.
With the soup complete, the accompaniments began to loom. Yesterday we worked with integrating our encapsulated yogurt and compressed celery slices. The crisp refreshing celery and the lactic tang of the yogurt both married extremely well with the soup. These additions worked, though I believe the soup, the finished soup, will go in another direction. Maybe that is the point. Perhaps we are discovering what we already knew. Create a base, a simple and tasty platform and then depending on the situation and scenario adjust the accompaniments to suit moods and appetites.