Another local chef was successful in winning Chopped this week. Last night Chef Silvia Baldini successfully navigated the April Fool’s style secret ingredient baskets and eliminated three other chefs and was crowned Chopped Champ. Ingredients she was required to re-provision included caramel onions masquerading as a caramel apple and green fondant in the shape of candy. And don’t taste a slice of cake expecting sweet…it was actually meat loaf.
It was a tight competition until the dessert round when she returned to her Italian roots when spent endless hours with her grandmother in the kitchen. She created Canederli, a bread dumpling that is a specialty of Northeast Italy. They are traditionally made with milk soaked bread, eggs and a touch of flour. Hers were good enough for Judge Chris Santos to proclaim, “This is the best dish of the day.”
So congratulations to Chef Baldini and her repurposing the strawberry soup a la tomato soup and winning Chopped.
And for our readers who want to dry the Canederli here is the recipe from the chef.
BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY SOUP AND SWEET CANEDERLI
For The Canederli:
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb fresh ricotta, drained
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup stale bread cut in small pieces
- 1 cup bread crumbs
For the Strawberry Soup
- 3 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 6 cups)
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons aged balsamic
For The Poaching Liquid
- 4 cups of water
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 small piece of cheese-cloth and string
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Strawberry soup: gently mix the strawberry, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and set aside to macerate for at least ½ an hour.
For the dough: Put the ricotta into a large bowl, and stir to loosen it and break up lumps, then blend in the eggs, the vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the flour on top, and fold it in gently, add the stale bread. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Put in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. When cold, shape the dough in small balls with wet hands, or a spoon. Keep on a lined tray in the fridge until ready to cook. Toast the breadcrumbs in a pan with the butter, add cinnamon and sugar.
Prepare the poaching liquid by boiling the water with the lemon juice, the zest, the sugar, and the salt. Tie all the remaining ingredients in the cloth and place in the poaching liquid. Simmer.
When ready to cook, gently place the Canederli in the poaching liquid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Roll in the toasted breadcrumbs. Serve on the strawberry soup.