As a child, I was obsessed with the world of magic, mysticism and arts of the occult. I was just one of these kids who strongly believed in the existence of mythical creatures and fairytales. A horse is a horse. It’s beautiful, strong and majestic in its own way; but it’s still just a horse. A flaming, skeletal steed with horns and demonic wings is special. Why am I talking about fantastic horses in a food blog? Don’t worry, it might all make sense in the end.
As an adult, I developed a passion for food; that trumped most other things I was ever obsessed with in my life. The ability to cook something flavorful from a bunch of raw ingredients is a skill, that I have learned to appreciate very highly. But one special aspect of the culinary world has always drawn my greatest attention: Molecular Gastronomy. Molecular Gastronomy is a culinary study that enables us to use nature’s own laws to alter, transform and enhance it. It is indeed the alchemy of food, which bridges my childhood to my present and explains why I think that it is the pinnacle of the modern kitchen as well as one of the alternate futures of the food & beverage industry.
Due to the complex, scientific foundations of Molecular Gastronomy and the food-safe chemicals that are involved in performing it, it is not very common to see it done at home. There are however quite a few fun, molecular experiments that merely require some basic pantry ingredients and patience. One of these is the so-called ‘spherification’ of juices and purees by using gelatin and chilled cooking oil. This process yields small caviar-like spheres that are made out of almost any juice or puree you could think of. Their color and translucent appearance adds a dimension of elegance to any dish or cocktail.
My first molecular project is a mixed herb caviar. I basically tried to capture the fragrant, pungent essence of fresh herbs in caviar or sphere form and add it to some dishes that would normally use these greens in their raw state. The shiny, green pearls immediately took my mind to the strong contrasting orange-pink color of smoked salmon. In restaurants, we often see salmon garnished with it’s own eggs; especially in Japanese cuisine. My dish, is a play on the classic smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill combo with a different touch of green caviar as opposed to the more common orange fish roe, that is normally associated with salmon dishes these days. I’ve also added some turmeric and hard-boiled egg yolks to the cream cheese.. whipped it up and piped it out to give it a more exotic look and flavor. Something had to match up to all the weirdness of the green herb caviar!
I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to feed me with more inspiration, as I cannot wait to jump back into the kitchen, put on my protective goggles and science the evening away.