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A Recipe From the Chef: Craig Thornton's Black Sesame and Uni Profiterole

Black sesame and profiterole; rice and dashi soup; clam; uni
Black sesame and profiterole; rice and dashi soup; clam; uni
Caleb Chen

About a month ago, we interviewed Wolvesden mastermind and underground supper club chef Craig Thornton (part 1, part 2). As always, we ran a chef recipe too, for his dish "Wolves in the Snow." But Thornton, with his typical overachiever flare, sent us two other recipes as well. Since keeping these recipes all for ourselves would be a tad selfish, a couple of weeks back we gave you the recipe for Thornton's take on the s'more. Today, we give you the last one: a black sesame and uni profiterole, served with rice and dashi soup, clam, and uni.

Thornton said of the recipe, "this dish is based on texture and simplicity, while being a bit whimsical with the profiterole -- which is normally served around dessert or as an amuse-bouche. Also, I made it around Halloween (explaining the black and orange), and also got a temperature contrast going on with the cold uni and hot soup."

See the recipe after the jump.

Black Sesame and Uni Profiterole with Rice and Dashi Soup, Clam, and Uni

From Craig Thornton of Wolvesden

Serves 6-8

Black sesame profiterole filled with uni:

4 oz milk

4 oz water

4 oz good, unsalted butter

4 oz all-purpose flour

8 oz egg (if you want to have better results with any recipe involving baking/pastry use weight measurements!)

salt to taste

1 oz black sesame paste (available in most Japanese markets -- just make sure to stir well)

1 tray of uni

2 oz of cream, lightly whipped

1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F

2. Take your 8oz of liquid and your 4oz of butter, and melt in a medium pan. Add a good pinch of salt.

3. Once your butter is melted into the milk, give a quick stir then dump in your flour while whisking together. Once your mixture comes together, change from your whisk to a wooden spoon and stir until it pulls away from the sides.

4. Cook about 2-3 more minutes to cook out some of the liquid which will evaporate. Once your mixture is homogeneous, remove from heat and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. The mixture must be cool for the next step.

5. Add the egg a little at a time (about 2 oz, or 1 egg) and work it into your dough. Once worked in, add more egg, and so on, until done.

6. Add the 1 oz of black sesame paste and stir throughout. Check your seasoning, then place mixture into a piping bag.

7. Take out a sheet pan and line it with parchment paper. Pipe small domes of the mixture a little larger than a quarter in diameter, about 1/2-3/4" tall (doesn't have to be exact), and place in the oven at 425°F for 10-12 minutes. Then turn oven down to 320°F and finish baking another 20-25 min, or until done. They should be hollow in the middle, and ready to fill just before you plan on serving.

8. Count out your uni, leaving each person with one nice piece. Take the rest, put it into a bowl, then lightly crush and whip with a whisk.

9. Fold it into the whipped cream, then taste and adjust seasoning (tasting for both salt and sugar).

10. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or, "ghetto-style" into a sandwich bag with the corner cut off. Just before serving, poke a hole int he bottom of the profiterole and fill with the uni filling.

Clams:

1.5 lbs small clams, in shell (rinse in cold water, let sit, allowing sediment to fall to the bottom, then take the clams out by hand)

1 small shallot minced

salt to taste

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 cup white wine

1. Melt the butter in the pan, add shallot, and let sweat. Once translucent, add clams and a small pinch of salt (clam will have salinity as well, and will add that to the sauce). Add white wine and cover with lid.

2. Once the clams open, pour out along with sauce into a strainer, over a bowl.

3. Save liquid, return it to the pan, and reduce by half (or taste as it reduces and stop before it becomes too salty).

4. Let the liquid cool slightly. Remove clams from the shell and put into a small bowl. Pour the reduced liquid over them, let cool fully to room temp, and reserve for finishing (or put in fridge to finish at a later time).

Rice and dashi soup:

1 cup short grain sushi rice

2.5 cups water (for rice)

7 inch piece of kombu kelp

3 cups filtered water (for kombu)

good sized handful of pre-shaved bonito

white soy sauce to taste (or regular dark soy sauce if u can't find white)

1. Cook the hell out of the rice. Cook until very soft, as you will be pureeing this rice.

2. Take the water and heat up to just about boiling, then turn off the heat, add in the kombu, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add bonito shavings, let sit for 1-2 minutes, then strain, reserving the liquid. This will be your liquid to thin out the soup while giving it flavor.

3. Take rice base and broth, and thin out in a blender til the soup consistency is reached. If you run out of liquid, add some water.

Final plate up:

1. Take your clams and heat them up gently in a small pot, reserving the liquid they soaked in for the soup.

2. Heat up your soup mixture. Once hot, fill your profiteroles with the uni filling.

3. Take your clam liquid (reserving clams for bowls) and pour into soup, adjust seasoning, and ladle into bowls.

4. Set the clams in the bowl giving, 3-4 clams per person. Lay your profiterole in the soup, or on the side, and finish with your cold uni.

5. Once you get the idea down, take this dish and make it your own, adding different flavors to the profiterole, or adding herbs or other garnishes to the soup. You can prep everything ahead, so do it early in the day and serve at night by reheating.

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