Spring Pea Custard with Petite Vegetable Salad, Spring Herbs, and Champagne Vinaigrette

John Suley

Gotham Steak at Fountainbleau - Miami Beach, FL

JBF Award–winning chef Alfred Portale chose protégé John Suley of Gotham Steak at Fountainbleau in Miami Beach to be featured at the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards, where Suley prepared this sophisticated spring custard.


Spring Pea Custard:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2/3 cup sliced leeks, yellow hearts only
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 sprig of thyme leaves
  • 11 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin
  • Canola oil, as necessary
Pea Emulsion:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 bouquet of thyme, tarragon, and fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup English peas, blanched
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
Champagne Vinaigrette:
  • 1 1/2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Petite Vegetables and Herb Salad:
  • 1 cup English peas, blanched
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 8 small morels, light sautéed in olive oil
  • 4 green asparagus spears, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 ramps, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup mixed herbs such as tarragon, sorrel, chive blossoms, chervil, frisée and pea shoots


To prepare the custards, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Add the goat cheese, chicken stock, and heavy cream, and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin and puree with an immersion blender. Divide the custard into four 4-inch ramekins that have been lightly greased with canola oil. Refrigerate until the custards are set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the pea emulsion, melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, milk, and bouquet of herbs. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bouquet. Pour the mixture into a blender. Add the peas and spinach and blend on high until smooth. Add the lemon oil and blend again. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and chill.

To make the Champagne vinaigrette, combine the shallots, Champagne vinegar, Champagne, salt, and pink peppercorns. Let the mixture at room temperature for 30 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil.

To make the petite vegetables and herb salad, toss the English peas, snap peas, snap peas, morels, asparagus and ramps together. Dress to taste with the champagne vinaigrette.

To assemble, unmold the custards. You may need to run a small spatula around the edge, but the custards should release easily. Place the custards on a serving plate. Top with the petite vegetables and herb salad. You should have about half the amount of salad to custard. Gently garnish the salad with the mixed herbs. Spoon the pea emulsion around the custard. Finish by drizzling with a teaspoon of the Champagne vinaigrette.


4 servings