First course

Corn couscous with smoked Almond curds, dried Zucchini Flowers and Vegetables


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Corn couscous with smoked Almond curds, dried Zucchini Flowers and Vegetables
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A tasty vegan dish prepared by Italian chef Daniela Cicioni, presented at 'The Vegetarian Chance' challenge: corn couscous with smoked almond curds.

For the emulsion
For the smoked Almond curds
For the leeks and Pistachos grain
  • Couscous 280 g, corn
  • Almond curds 160 g, smoked
  • Zucchini flowers 8, with their pistil removed and cut into 5 sections, slightly oiled, salted and left to dry for 8 hours at 42°C
  • Vegetable stock made from leek, celery, carrot, bay leaf, juniper, sage and fennel seeds
  • Zucchini 520 g, small, half of which are to be cut into rounds on the diagonal while the other half must be cut into longitudinal slices and dried for 8 hours at 42°C
  • Dwarf beans 160 g,blanched for 4 minutes in boiling salted water and cut into 2 cm diagonal slices
  • Flat beans 160 g, blanched for 4 minutes in boiling salted water and cut into diagonal strips of 0.5 cm
  • Peas 160 g, fresh blanched for 3 minutes in boiling salted water
  • Celery 60 g, green, cut into 2 mm cubes
  • Leek 120 g, cut on the diagonal into 2 mm rounds
  • Chives 10 g
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 80 g
  • Salt
  • Lemon 4, rind
  • Saffron powder 1 sachet
  • Caper 1 dessertspoon, powder
  • Mint 1 large bunch
  • Marjoram 1 large bunch
  • Thyme 1 large bunch
  • Basil 1 large bunch, fresh chopped
  • Pea shoots
  • Calendula petals fresh or dried
  • Chick peas
Info box
  • Recipe category First course
  • Recipe yield 4

For cucumber and mint emulsion
Blend the ingredients to obtain a smooth emulsion.

For the curds
Prepare the almond milk by blending the almonds with 1 litre of water.

Filter through a clean wet cloth, set the pulp aside. Heat 1 litre of the milk obtained to 85° C, while stirring the bottom of the pan from time to time with a wooden spoon.

When the temperature has reached 80° C, salt (lightly) and stir. At 85° C pour in the vinegar and stir slowly two or three times using a wooden spoon, remove from the heat and cover.

Leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Prepare a sieve lined with a non woven fabric gauze or a muslin cloth placed on top of a bowl.

Using a ladle, pour the curded liquid into the bowl (two or three ladles at a time).

When about half of the whey has been filtered, use a spoon to collect the semi-coagulated curds from the colander and pour them gently into the special container fitted with a tray for collecting the whey that will continue to filter through for two more days.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.

It will keep for about 5 days. Cold smoke for 3 minutes in a portable food smoking device, using apple or cherry wood.

For the couscous
Cook the chick peas in water with bay leaf and sage for 1 hour, salt and set aside.

Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add the chopped herbs and spices, 40 g oil, saffron and the couscous, before removing from the hob.

Stir and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Pan toss the non dried half of the zucchini, the mange tout, the dwarf beans and the leak in a little oil.

Sprinkle the curds with finely chopped chives.

Separate the couscous grains with a fork and add the vegetables, peas, chick peas, herbs, lemon rind, caper powder, pumpkin seed flakes and celery.

Spread 30 g of mint and cucumber emulsion on the bottom of each plate, place the couscous on top and then distribute 40 g of curds divided into 6 little mounds.

On top of which, arrange the slices of dried zucchini, the zucchini flowers, the pea shoots, the calendula petals and the pistachio and leek flakes.

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