The Science of Making Food
Precise Temperature Control
Cooking fish at a precise, low temperature works wonders. Fish is routinely cooked to a much higher temperature than necessary, causing the flesh to dry out and fish oils to oxidize and produce unpleasant fishy aromas. Here, we have cooked the fish sous vide in a water bath to a core temperature of just 113°F.
First, however, we quick-cure the halibut with a salt-sugar rub, which helps to preserve the juicy firmess of the fish. For the sauce, we make a sake reduction and then add a bit of beautiful green pistachio paste to add layers of flavor and a creamy mouthfeel. Any bright-green herb or lettuce with some acidity adds a delightful contrast of color and flavor to the pearly white of the fish and the light green of the sauce.
Monitor Chemical and Physical Reactions of Food
When a whole oyster is immersed in liquid nitrogen, something amazing happens. The ultracold nitrogen flash-freezes the adductor muscle, which then releases as it quickly thaws. Shucking becomes a breeze and leaves the texture and shape of the oyster pristine and beautiful.
For this dish, we wanted to accentuate the natural essence of the Shigoku oysters. The sunchoke oyster cream—a dairy-free emulsion—gives a satisfying depth to the nutty brininess of the oysters. The pickled rose petals and rose-hip jelly add the top notes and the sharp acidity to create a very satisfying bite.
Experiment with Different Flavor Combinations
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.
Enlighten the Senses with Flavor, Smell, Texture, and Look
Vegetable Ravioli, Pressure Caramelized Allium Broth & Lemon Oil
There is something magical about making a dish look like a piece of art. The diner may be reluctant to even touch the food, but once the tasting begins, the flavors, aromas, and textures combine with the aesthetic to create a complete experience of food.
This vegetable ravioli dish looks snazzy but doesn’t require a crew to prepare. The wrappers are made from very thin cross sections of beet, rutabaga, celery root, and turnip, which we then steam. What vegetable you choose for the wrappers, as well as for the fillings, can shift with the seasons.
The ravioli sit in an allium broth of leeks, onions, garlic, and shallots, which we pressure-cook in canning jars until they brown. This pressure-extraction technique allows us to obtain a concentrated jus with much less water than used by the conventional methods.
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