Jean-Louis Guerin is one of France’s and the US’s most celebrated chefs. Chef Guerin is the President of the US delegation of L’ Academie Culinaire de France. He won the James Beard award for “Best chef Northeast”, the Toque d’Argent MaÃ®tres Cuisiniers de France in 2009, and won Chopped this past May. His restaurant, Jean-Louis, in Connecticut is known to be one of the best in the state. I asked Chef Guerin to share a recipe with us that for him embodied summer. Chef Guerin says that there’s nothing “better than summer vegetables simmered in a saffron broth and finished with raw tomatoes and herbs”. He also urges you to “Make this soup your own by adding some cooked seafood, or orange juice, or wheat, or yogurt”. If you do get creative, let him know. Post your version on his Facebook page or ping him on Twitter.
Chef Jean-Louis Guerin’s Chilled Diced Vegetables in Saffron Bouillon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from about 1 medium onion)
1 cup thinly sliced leek (white part only; from about 1 medium-large leek)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 3-4 medium cloves)
1 cup finely chopped carrot (from 3-4 medium carrots)
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
2 pinches saffron
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
2 small plum tomatoes
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Cooked and chilled seafood of your choice (mussels, shrimp, lobster, salmon, etc)
2 tablespoons chopped chives, mint, or scallions
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, then add the onions, leeks, and garlic. Sweat, stirring frequently, until softened and just translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, thyme, bay leaf, and saffron, stir, and add clam juice. Add 2 cups of water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow saffron to fully infuse the broth and release its color and flavor.
2. The following day, prepare the tomatoes: bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set near stove. Using the point of a sharp paring knife, remove and discard stem end and cut an X’ into other end of each tomato. Submerge tomatoes into the boiling water for 10-15 seconds or until skin of tomatoes begins to peel off near the X’. Using a slotted spoon, quickly transfer tomatoes into bowl of ice water. Peel skins off tomatoes and discard, then cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard seeds. Cut tomato halves lengthwise into ¼”strips, then cut strips crosswise to form ¼”square pieces.
3. Add the chopped peeled tomatoes, orange juice, and seafood to the chilled soup base. Season to taste with salt. Divide evenly among serving dishes and garnish with chives, mint, or scallions.
Variation: To serve soup hot, bring chilled soup base to a boil, add tomatoes, seafood, and herbs (omit orange juice), boil 1 minute, season to taste with salt, and divide evenly among warm serving bowls.
To taste Master Chef Jean-Louis Guerin’s cooking, head to his restaurant, Jean-Louis, located at 61 Lewis Street in Greenwich, CT (203) 622-8450.