Modernist Cooking

Former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold has food down to a science. Modernist cooking, AKA Molecular gastronomy, gets down to the nitty gritty of cooking techniques and ingredients via scientific measurements. Click here for recipes. Food By: Anjana Shanker and Maxime Bilet

Experiment with Different Flavor Combinations
Photo: Scott Heimendinger

Experiment with Different Flavor Combinations

Cherry Tomato & Cherry Salad, Parsnip Vanilla Pudding & Lemongrass

We love to explore new flavor combinations that may sound strange but actually make a lot of sense as soon as you taste them together. The sweet and savory qualities of this cherry and cherry tomato salad remind me of some of my favorite elements of Southeast Asian food, yet it feels Italian or French in its composition.

If you look very closely at the picture of this salad, you can see the thin veil over the dish, which is gelatinized tomato water. Making a gel of this kind is not as difficult as you might think, and the technique opens the door to a lot of fun textures.

The tomato water in the gel is made by cold infusion, which is yet another powerful but straightforward technique—basically, steeping herbs in chilled tomato water for several hours. This approach extracts the delicate top notes and avoids cooking them off, so that the veil tastes vibrantly of tomatoes and the aromatics.

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