At London’s Chiltern Firehouse, Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes blends European tradition with American comfort food. In his new book with André Balazs, the chef shares some of the recipes that make the Chiltern Firehouse a landmark of classic cocktails and modern cooking.
Corn is synonymous with summer in North America. I still remember, from my days living in New Mexico, the smell of corn in the husk roasting on a grill. The smoky sweetness of the corn as it’s cooked and the husks burn away is the perfect starting point for something special. This lovely recipe is one that our joint head chefs, Patrick and Sebastian, came up with together. During summer in London, we make a point of bringing it onto the Firehouse menu.
- Hold the corn cobs upright on a chopping board and cut the kernels off of 3 cobs. Place the kernels in a bowl—you should have about 12 ounces/350 g of kernels. Place the cobs in a large saucepan and cover with 1 quart/1 liter of water, then bring to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, uncovered, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
- Once the corn stock is made, remove from the heat and discard the cobs. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the leek, and sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue to cook for a few minutes over low heat (you don’t want the leeks and garlic to brown), then add the corn kernels. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring, then add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, partially covered, for 2 hours. Purée with a stick blender and pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl (you don’t need to season it at this point). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Roast the three remaining corn cobs in the oven for 40 minutes, turning them occasionally, until the kernels are cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven, leave until cool enough to handle, then cut the kernels off the cobs.
- Heat the corn purée in a saucepan, then drop in the roasted kernels. Stir in the crème fraîche, pickled jalapeño, and chives, and season to taste with lime juice and salt.
Reprinted with permission from Chiltern Firehouse by Nuno Mendes and André Balazs, copyright 2017 by Chiltern Street Hotel Ltd. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Nuno Mendes and André Balazs