Krug x Onion: Cevenne Onions, Turbot, Morels and Alsace Bacon by Chef Theo Clench
Krug Cellar Master Julie Cavil and former Krug Cellar Master & Deputy Director of the House, Éric Lebel, accompanied 11 Krug Ambassade Chefs from 9 different countries on an unexpected journey to India where they discovered how the unassuming onion became an inextricable staple of every cuisine in the world. From the colourful lens of Jaipur’s bustling street food scene to the delicious serenity of the neighbouring countryside, they experienced its versatility, tenacity and modest virtue, which inspire a full spectrum of creative recipes to pair with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé. Discover Brighton native, Chef Theo Clench's recipe using the humble onion and inspired by Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition below.
Can you share any fun facts about the onion?
In the Middle Ages the onion was used as currency, which is not surprising when you realise it is a staple for cuisines around the world. Only when you really start looking into its varied uses throughout different cultures do you see how widespread it is. This ingredient, which is so often overlooked because we eat it every day, is the building block for thousands of dishes.
Do you recall your first glass of Krug?
It was a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée when we were celebrating our first Michelin star at my previous restaurant. The news broke when the owner came running into the kitchen at lunch, telling us the guide had leaked. With a bottle of Krug in hand, he poured us all a glass. I must say that the overwhelming feeling of being awarded a Michelin star and enjoying this bottle of Champagne for the first time in the middle of the lunch service is something I will never forget. Since that moment, the fullness of flavours and aromas of Krug Grande Cuvée goes hand in hand with treasured moments for me.
Can you tell us about a memorable champagne pairing you have enjoyed?
My memorable pairing experience with Krug would have to be with the onion on this trip to Jaipur with some of the most talented Chefs from around the world. It was an amazing experience to see a whole new aspect of a humble single ingredient and how deeply rooted it is in the local culture and cuisine. It was also a chance for me to be inspired by the techniques and methods of the other Chefs. Although we all started with the simple onion, we each ended up with vastly different interpretations for our Krug pairings. During these unforgettable three days, Krug brought us all together and formed lasting friendships.
CEVENNE ONIONS, TURBOT, MORELS AND ALSACE BACON RECIPE
INGREDIENTS (6 SERVINGS)
- 6 white onions
- 200 g butter
- Maldon sea salt
- 8 Cevenne onions
- 1 head garlic
- 0,5 bouquet thyme
- 1 kg button mushrooms
- 1 bouquet bay leaves
- 50 g dried morels
- 250 g pearl onions
- 300 ml filtered water
- 100 g sugar
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 400 g Alsace bacon
- 500 ml filtered water
- 2 Cevenne onions
- 100 g rice flour
- 300 ml vegetable oil for frying
- 2 Cevenne onions
- 3 l filtered water
- Agar Agar
- 1 turbot (6 kg)
- 250 g morels
STEP 1. ONION PURÉE Finely slice onions and sweat down in butter and salt until they are a deep caramel colour. Deglaze the pan with 200 ml of water, making sure to scrape all the sediment off the pan. Blend in a vitamix and emulsify with 50 g of cold butter whilst blending, pass through chinox, chill over ice and set aside.
STEP 2. BURNT ONION STOCK Cut Cevenne onions in halves and burn facedown in a saucepan. Once a deep colour, remove from the pan. Slice button mushrooms, add to the pass and cook until caramelised. Add in thyme, bay leaves and garlic and sweat down. Return the burnt onions to the pan and cover with filtered water. Cook for one hour. After the time is up, pass stock through a chinox into a fresh saucepan and reduce by half. Once reduced, pass again and chill over ice.
STEP 3. PICKLED PEARL ONIONS Peel onions, leaving the roots attached. In a saucepan combine water, sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour over peeled onions. Allow to cool slightly and then place in a medium sous vide bag. Cook at 85°C in a water bath or steamer for 15 min. Chill in an ice bath and reserve for later.
STEP 4. ALSACE BACON LARDONS Remove skin and sinew, cut into slices about 2 cm from the bacon, then poach and dice. Place in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil then remove from heat and strain, reserving the bacon for later use.
STEP 5. CEVENNE ONION CRISPS Peel onions, slice lengthways on a mandoline. Dust lightly in rice flour and fry at 150°C for 30 sec or until lightly golden. Drain off the onion crisps and place in a dehydrator for 8 hours at 80°C.
STEP 6. CEVENNE ONION GEL Cut onions in half, place in a deep gastro and cover in filtered water. Place a lid on top and steam in the oven overnight (24 hours) at 85°C. Remove and strain into a sauce pan, reduce and skim constantly until you have 500 ml of stock left. Add 5 g of agar agar and cook out for 3 min. Pour onto a tray and leave to set in the fridge. Once set blend in a vitamix, place in container and pass through the vacuum sealer 3 times to remove all the air. Place into a squeezy bottle and reserve for later.
STEP 7. TURBOT Fillet turbot, then skin. Split the large dark fillet in two. Cut into portions and set aside.
STEP 8. MOREL Cut off the stalk and wash quickly in 4 bowls of tepid water, drain and place on a cloth to dry.
In a hot pan, char off remaining pearl and Cevenne onions, once cooked, remove and set aside until cool enough to handle. Then peel and place on a tray. Warm up onion purée. Bring stock to a boil and then enrich with egg yolks and butter to make the sauce. Petal the pickled onions and place on a tray, ready to serve. Sweat down bacon in a touch of oil. Once crispy, add butter and morels to the pan. Once cooked, fold in the charred onion petals. In the meantime, heat up a frying pan with a generous amount of oil and start pan-frying the turbot. Bring up all the garnish together and start to plate. Drain the fish and place next to the garnish. Sauce the plate and then finish with Cevenne onion crisps, onion gel and freshly picked chervil.
The Champagne is bold with a fullness of flavours that comes through those of the onion. The palate of Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is mirrored by the notes of the dish with sweetness and freshness, which is why they complement each other so well.