Interview with Chef Karl Braverman of Sienna in South Deerfield
VL: So Karl, what’s new in fine dining?
Chef: Everything. We’re gourmet food at Wolfie’s prices now, whole new scene. Come for lunch starting in January, or around then. We want people to come to the new Sienna. Sienna food at Appleby’s prices.
VL: But your duck is over $20.
Chef: But the Caesar Salad, same price as us but look at their romaine, look at their cheese, look at their salad for the same price. I won’t take my kids there. People just don’t know.
VL: This corn soup recipe looks kind of difficult.
Chef: Chowder. I don’t know why people would want to make it at home but go ahead and print the recipe. See if they like it. Then maybe they will come in. My wife loves this dish. She had corn chowder at a fair and it was disgusting. I warned her.
VL: Well, thanks for the recipe. I had this dish at your place and couldn’t figure out how to do it.
Chef: Its not easy. That’s why you go out. l’ll tell you exactly how I made it and you go ahead try it. Who knows?
Karl’s Korn Chowder
Sienna Restaurant’s owner and head chef Karl Braverman provides the following recipe for corn chowder. The dish is on the menu at the South Deerfield restaurant all summer.
Karl’s rendition of the staple of many country fairs is worth the effort. Because Chef uses Conway raised and smoked pork from Pakarski’s and local corn, Karl’s Korn Chowder has the pedigree required for locavore status (with the exception of lump crab, salt and pepper). Of course, the crab may be gilding the lily–not absolutely necessary. Cooking time is approximately 1 hour due to the slow simmering of corn and requisite trip through a fine meshed sieve but the combination of sweet corn poached in cream laced with smoked pork is worth every minute/mile out of your day.
1 cup smoked bacon ends chopped*
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 firm stalk celery chopped
7 medium to large ears of corn (depending on size)
1-1/2 potatoes (red bliss or russet), diced small
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 qt heavy cream
1 bay leaf
S&P (salt & peppa) to taste
canned cooked crab lump meat (1/4 cup per serving)
garnish is about a cup of cooked corn kernels.
*NOTE ON BACON:
Like bread, the ends are best, especially in this case where the center of bacon strips has too much fat.) Karl uses bacon from Pakarski’s on Rt. 116 and says that most butchers will be happy to provide "ends" upon request.
Remove the corn from cobs and cook with cream until it is almost boiling. Put into blender and pass through a fine mesh sieve to remove the corn casings. Add Put back on stove until the mixture almost boils. Render bacon and cook with potatoes, onions and then celery until translucent. Add stock and cook down 25%. Mix together with creamed corn and add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with lump crab meat (after picking it out of the shell) and add the remaining whole corn kernels.