Paul Carmichael of Momofuku Seiobo shares the recipe for his dish of cou-cou, caviar and corn, which brings together the delicate and the bold for a surprising entree. Carmichael demonstrated this dish at Masterclass supported by Sanpellegrino during the 2019 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
½ banana shallot, finely chopped
50g okra, diced
1 sprig thyme
2 tsp grapeseed oil
Caviar, to serve (see note)
White wine base
750ml bottle white wine
20g banana shallots, thinly sliced
3 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
6 whole coriander seeds
1 clove garlic, smashed
5 cobs sweetcorn
1 bay leaf
2 spring onions, whole, roots trimmed off
200g corn purée
60ml white wine base
200g butter, diced
Lemon juice, to taste
1. For the cou-cou, soak the polenta in 300ml water for 30 minutes. In a saucepan, gently fry the shallot, okra and thyme in the grapeseed oil until softened but not coloured (3-5 minutes). Add 800ml of water and simmer until okra is just cooked. Strain, reserving cooking water. Set aside okra mix, removing thyme sprig, and return cooking water to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta and cook, stirring continuously, until smooth (15 minutes). Return the reserved okra mixture, add the butter and season with salt. Keep warm.
2. For the white wine base, simmer the ingredients in a saucepan until reduced to 180ml. Strain.
3. For the purée, slice the kernels from the cobs. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat, add the corn and remaining ingredients and cook until softened but not coloured (7- 8 minutes). Discard the bay leaf and spring onions. Purée the corn and pass through a fine sieve.
4. Combine 200g corn purée, 60ml wine base (reserve remainder for another use) and cream in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and whisk in the butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice.
5. Add a scoop or quenelle of the cou-cou to each bowl, top with a dollop of caviar and pour in a generous amount of corn sauce (it should be saucy). Serve hot.
Use a high-quality caviar that can stand up to the bold flavours.