Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Culinary competency in caldo verde

Chef Dan Fluharty rewarded me full credit -- 20 points -- for my caldo verde in Monday' soups competency exam in Culinary Foundations II.

The exam called for making three soups in two hours. The caldo verde was my best; Chef Dan called it "very flavorful and seasoned just right." Thanks, Chef.

My clam chowder and consommé offerings also got high marks, and he judged the flavors to be good in both.

The flavor profile is the key: identifying the flavors, bringing them out and building their complexities from the bottom of the pot to the top.

In the case of caldo verde, one must reconcile the competing flavors in two strong ingredients -- spicy chorizo and bitter kale -- to make them complementary. The background ingredients of potatoes, sautéed onions, chicken stock and a little olive oil help do that.

(Photo shows my caldo verde in the pot.)

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