Perhaps it’s our unusual urge to pair pink and green on plate: honeydew melon balls, grapefruit sections with mint sugar; poached salmon with avocado mousse; prosciutto and melon with basil, etc. No matter.
We’re letting our prep colours fly with a collection of classic WASP favourites (but maybe hold off on the terrapin and prune whip).
Whether it’s brunch with bloodies, lunch at the club, parties on the patio, cheese and crackers for dinner, or a proper sitdown affair, we’re posting our beloved and classic prep mainstays.
First up is an elegant take on tomato soup. Prepared tableside from a wheeled trolley, we recall club waiters sauteeing bacon and sliced mushrooms, flambéing the whole works with a splash of gin, and then freeing a mini aspic of tomato and beef consumme from a ramekin to melt into the pan.
Topped with a dollop of cream, it was a rather dramatic affair.
We’ll hold fast to our flambeed version at bottom, but here is an updated version of the same from Banff Centre’s Chef Beat Hegnauer and his famous Gordon’s Gin Tomato Soup recipe from his time at The Four Seasons in Vancouver. It comes from a cookbook exclusively featuring tableside recipes. “Gordon’s has that extra punch, flavour and aroma that is so important to the taste of this recipe.”
GORDON’S GIN TOMATO SOUP RECIPE
Serves roughly 4 people
– 75 g bacon, julienned (cut thinly into strips)
– 50 g butter, cubed
– 200 g mushrooms, sliced
– 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 large shallot, finely chopped
– 1 sprig of thyme
– 1kg tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
– 75 ml Gin
– 100 ml whipping cream
– Salt, white pepper, paprika
1. In a pot, cook the bacon until crispy.
2. Add the butter and mushrooms. Sauté until soft.
3. Add the garlic, shallot, sprig of thyme and paprika. Cook for about 4 minutes or until dry.
4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. In a small pot, heat the gin and flame.
7. Add the gin to the soup pot.
8. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
TOMATO GIN SOUP
La Creme de Tomates au Gin Gordon
(from Four Seasons Hotel in 1986)
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 tomato, blanched and diced
2 ounces bacon, cut julienne
2 ounces Gordon’s gin
3 cups freshly made tomato soup
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp Cafe de Paris butter (recipe follows)
Saute onions, garlic and bacon in Cafe de Paris butter over low flame until onions are glossy and bacon is cooked. Add mushrooms and sweat for 1 minute; add diced tomato; add gin and flambé. Add tomato soup and cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
Season and serve.
Cafe de Paris butter
1 lb sweet butter
dash each of cognac, madeira wine, white wine and Worchestershire sauce
Squirt of lemon juice
1/2 onion, grated
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
1/4 tsp chopped parsley
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp each of tarragon, rosemary, thyme, paprika and cayenne pepper
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Freeze and use by the tablespoon when needed.