Thursday, April 22, 2010

Caesar Salad v1.0

I looked over romaine for a long time. Even in my arugula post from last year I literally said "fuck romaine".
But it's been haunting me lately.
There has constantly been a bubbling craving for those romaine hearts. I always enjoyed how juicy and crunchy they were and the way they bring the Caesar dressing together.

Here I isolated the heart from all other parts of the lettuce, then I separated all the ingredients involved in a Caesar dressing and made powders out of them. This way the "water" from the heart liquifies all of the dried ingredients to end in what tastes like a Caesar salad.

This is v1.0 because it can taste better. Look better. The idea is for this to be an amuse-bouche with enough punch to feel like you spent the last 20 minutes eating a Caesar salad.

Caesar Salad v1.0

Anchovy Powder
Pat anchovies as dry as possible
Deep fry in canola oil @ 350ºF until completely crispy
Strain and pat dry on paper towels
Grind fried anchovies in a coffee grinder to a fine powder, scraping down the sides as needed.

Garlic Powder
Peel garlic clove and slice as thinly as possible
Deep fry in canola oil @ 300ºF until there are no more bubbles around garlic slices (about 10+ min)
Strain and pat dry on paper towels.
Grind fried garlic in a coffee grinder to a fine powder, scraping down the sides as needed.

Egg Yolk Powder
Hard boil one egg.
Separate whites from yolk, keeping yolk intact.
Set aside whites and save for another use
Put whole yolk in a container in the freezer for at least 1/2 an hour (or until frozen)

Romaine Lettuce Hearts
Break off a whole leaf of lettuce, with stem attached
Cut off top, leafy portion, leaving just the white portion of lettuce
Trim the ends, leaving just the heart intact
cut into 3-4 equal sized small portions

To Finish
Toast bread crumbs in oven or over a dry pan until lightly toasted

Put about 3/4 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl
While whisking, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until fully incorporated
Whisk in salt and pepper

Coat romaine hearts in olive oil dressing
Put one coated lettuce heart on small plate
Sprinkle garlic and anchovy powders equally ( a small amount, these are very powerful concentrated flavors) onto hearts

Take egg yolk out of freezer
Using a small, fine grater, grate egg yolk over romaine hearts
Grate parmesan cheese over hearts
Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Underdog Ingredient

Some food gets a bad rep. Some get no rep at all. Zucchini tends to fall in the latter category and on the categorical ladder, it's usually at the bottom (not to mention alphabetically as well). There's no underdog like zucchini. I bought some this weekend in hopes to let zucchini shine and have a leading role for once. It's won for supporting roles in ratatouille, pupusas and mücver. It almost won for tempura, but has often been defeated by carrot and sweet potato.

Here, I've fried slices of said squash in bacon fat that was rendered from the finely ground bacon trailing the back of the dish. Sandwiched between slices of extra sharp white cheddar, it sits atop a sauce made from brown butter, lemon, burnt onion stock, rosemary and cocoa. I love the way the zucchini crisps up, soaks in the fat and has a Maillard crust.

What other unsung produce is out there? Cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, herbs. Maybe the future of cuisine lies in bringing forth the ingredients behind the scenes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Veal . Cocoa . Zucchini . Cippolini . Fennel . Corn . Parmesan
Crispy Veal Leg . Pickled Fennel + Fronds . Parmesan
Cocoa-Braised Cippolini's
Zucchini & Corn with Black Pepper & Rosemary