So you pick up a new cookbook and inhale that addictive new book smell. While eagerly perusing photographs and ingredient lists, you may be thinking, “I can make that,” or, “Time to pay Chinatown a visit.”
The package arrives and the familiar scent creeps up your nostrils as you flip the opening pages. You chuckle as you see “How to use this book” in the table of contents, and against your better judgment, skip to the recipes anyway.
Silence. The techniques require surgical precision. The equipment needed won’t be on sale at Sur la Table. You suddenly find yourself Googling improbable search terms such as “food-safe syringe.” Most of the ingredients are not available at Whole Foods. All of the ingredients are measured in weights, some as accurate to one-half of a gram. You can’t make anything even if everything is delineated in excruciating detail.
Until page 225, that is. Granted, this butternut squash soup is merely one component in a dish of 9 sub-recipes. In case you were wondering, the other elements are duck, curry, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, limes, and bananas. I don’t know how that works either but hopefully I’ll find out soon enough. If only I had some citric acid and soy lecithin.
Butternut Squash Soup
makes approximately 1115 grams of soup
1 butternut squash
60g (4 tablespoons) butter
300g (1 1/4 cups) heavy cream
200g (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) water
40g (3 tablespoons) sugar
15g (1 1/2 tablespoons) kosher salt
- a weighing scale
- a blender
- a fine-mesh strainer
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/177ºC.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the pulp and the seeds. Divide the butter into two 30-gram pieces and place in the butternut squash cavity.
Buttered butternut squash. Music to my ears.
Roast for about 1 hour, or until tender.
Good enough to eat as is, but since there’s cream involved in the next step…
Scoop out 500 grams of butternut squash flesh (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups) and place in a saucepan. Add the heavy cream, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer while stirring.
Pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain using a fine-mesh strainer or chinois.