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Choose a final seasoning and garnish to make it even more intriguing and attrractive. Almost any ingredient is possible as an accent to consomm, as long as you like the way the flavors, textures, and colors work with the pale, clear liquid.
Cook garnishes ahead so their flavors stay distinct from the flavor of the consomm. And some things, like pasta or beans, would absorb too much consomm during cooking. Use only non-fat methods to cook your garnishes (boiling, steaming) because any fat used in cooking will ruin the clarity of the consomm. Two exceptions to the cook ahead rule are peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes or sliced fresh truffles; both are soft enough to go straight into the liquid. Here are some other ideas:
~ Infuse the consomm by steeping with fresh herbs or spices: rosemary, tarragon, lemongrasss, saffron. ~ Flavor the broth before clarification with ground spices (adding them to the finished consomm would make it cloudy): Indian garam masala, Chinese five-spice.
~ Vegetables cut in neat julienne, tiny dice, or parisienne (pea-sized balls made with a tiny melon baller), small asparagus tips, fresh peas, tiny mushrooms.
~ Dried beans and legume: black beans, black-eyed peas, navy beans, adzuki beans, lentils,
~ Pastas, stuffed or unstuffed: totellini, ravioli, wontons, bow-ties, orzo.
~ Grain like pearl barley or wild rice.
~ Delicate slices of meat, chicken or fish, either the same typw as the consomm or a different type for contrast.
~ Small shellfish: shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, lobster claws.
~ Last minute accents: blanched strips of citrus zest, edible flowers, or a few drops of flavored oil.
by Irving Shelby Smith Fine Cooking June-July 1995 Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 6-17-95