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"The oddly orangey-yellow broccoli cheddar soup I had as a kid is the inspiration for this dish. But here, I've taken those original flavors and added lomo, a cured Spanish pork tenderloin. And instead of making a soup, I fry the broccoli in a chickpea-flour tempura batter. The chickpeas lend a gritty texture that holds the Mornay sauce, which is a béchamel sauce—milk, flour, butter—with Gruyère cheese added. A legit Velveeta, if you will." –Kristen Kish, season 10 "Top Chef" winner
Adapted from Kristen Kish Cooking by Kristen Kish. Copyright © 2017 by Kristen Kish. Used with permission by Clarkson Potter. All rights reserved.
For the cheese dipping sauce, melt the butter with the flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until it becomes a paste or roux. Cook gently so that the roux does not brown. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, avoiding lumps if possible (the sauce can be strained if you end up with lots of lumps), and bring the mixture to a simmer. Heat, whisking, until the flour is cooked and the mixture has begun to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cheese in three batches, whisking well after each addition. Cook until the cheese is completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside over very low heat or keep warm in a double boiler.
For the broccoli tempura, in a heavy high-sided pot, heat the canola oil to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with paper towels for draining the broccoli after frying.
To make the tempura batter, whisk the chickpea flour and 1 cup rice flour in a medium bowl, add the ice, and whisk in the soda water, blending well but without overwhisking—you want to keep the bubbles in the soda water! Season with salt. The mixture should resemble a runny pancake batter.
Lightly dust the broccoli florets with the remaining ½ cup rice flour. Shake off any extra flour from each broccoli floret and then dip the floret into the batter, letting the excess drip off for a few seconds. Add florets to the hot oil in batches of 6 or 7. Do not overcrowd the pot. Fry until crisp (rice flour doesn’t really brown), 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain.
Immediately season with salt while still piping hot. This ensures the seasoning will stick. Continue cooking the rest of the broccoli in batches. If your broccoli has cooled too much before serving, place it in a 300°F oven to bring back up to temperature.
To serve, coat the bottom of a serving place with the Mornay sauce, pile the crunchy broccoli on top, and drape the finely sliced lomo on top, if using.