shrimp in pea water

If being a student of Modernist Cuisine has taught me anything, it’s that I should strive for purity of flavor.  Achieving this goal is usually an exercise in what to leave out of a dish, not what you put in it, and this recipe is a great example.  Served chilled, the “broth” is made of centrifuged pea water and filtered celery juice.  When blended peas are separated in the centrifuge, most of the starch ends up in the fibrous layer at the bottom.  Since the presence of starch inhibits your ability to perceive sweetness, the starch-free pea water ends up tasting much sweeter than a whole pea.  I didn’t bother to centrifuge the celery juice, but I find that the flavor of celery is so strongly associated with the crunch of the stalks that it creates a fascinating synesthesia to consume it in liquid form.  I made the conscious choice here to leave out pea starch and celery fiber, and the bright flavors of the vegetables shine right through.

I plan on serving this dish for dinner tomorrow, and I may try adding a wasabi ice or a frozen foam to give it another level of texture.

 

INGREDIENT

QTY.

SCALING

PROCEDURE

Frozen peas, thawed

907g

453%

1.       Blend until smooth.

2.       Divide the pea puree among centrifuge bottles and spin at 1500Gs for 2 hours

3.       Decant the pea water through a paper towel or paper filter.  Reserve and chill pea water.

4.       Scrape, reserve, and chill pea butter.

Celery hearts

907g

453%

5.       Juice in a masticating juicer, such as an Omega.  Reserve and chill juice.

Shrimp, prawns, langoustines, lobster tail or other shellfish

200g

100%

6.       Vacuum seal together using weak vacuum pressure.

7.       Cook sous vide to a core temperature of 54C (for shrimp), about 12 minutes.

Duck Fat

30g

15%

Olive Oil

30g

15%

Small Shiitake Mushrooms

20g

10%

8.       Sweat vegetables in butter.

9.       Cut the onions in half and lightly char the cut sides with a blowtorch.

10.   Plate the dish by spooning 15g pea water and 5g celery juice into a shallow bowl.  Place cooked shellfish in the middle.  Garnish with onions, mushrooms and pea butter.

Small Pearl Onions

20g

10%

Butter

10g

5%

Salt

1g

1%

shrimp splash
One of the shrimp got away and tried to return to his natural habitat.

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Reading time: 1 min

butterfly shrimp

Over a year ago I experimented with laser-cutting nori, the dried seaweed paper used commonly in making rolled sushi.  Because nori is flat, thin and dry, it cuts extremely well with a laser and I was able to get extraordinarily high-resolution cutouts.  Because I didn’t always have access to the laser, I wanted to find a way to keep producing cut nori at home – and I found one.  The QuicKutz Silhouette SD Digital Craft Cutting Tool ($199) is a computer-controlled craft cutter designed for cutting paper and light cardstock.  It works by moving the material backwards and forwards while moving a very sharp blade side to side (and up and down).  Although the nori was too brittle to handle intricate cutting on the Silhouette, I was still able to successfully cut a few dozen different patterns.  If you want to experiment with this technique at home, a craft cutter is the way to go.

The picture at the top is (what I’m calling) Butterfly Shrimp.  It’s wholly impractical, a little ridiculous, and really funny.  I’ve also created an edible butterfly using wasabi as the body, with two wings skewered in. 

The next images are of the most intricate pattern I attempted to laser-cut.  It’s an amalgamation of traditional Japanese stencil designs.  I think of this nori sheet as a kind of edible doily… a garnish that is ornate to the highest degree.  It casts cool shadows, too.

decorative nori standing up

The same sheet, folded on itself.  Wouldn’t that make beautiful sushi? (click for many more photos…)

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shrimp cocktail

Although the title sounds like the beginning of a bad personals ad, this recipe couldn’t be more innocuous.  I wanted to play with the notion of a classic shrimp cocktail, and somewhat by accident (and inspired by a brainstorming session with Jethro), I realized that I could dehydrate cocktail sauce and produce something that looked quite a bit like prosciutto.  Prosciutto-wrapped shrimp is a great dish on its own, and on first glance, that’s what this dish might appear to be.  However, in a single bite, you’ll quickly identify the unmistakable flavor of cocktail sauce.

Method:

  1. Spread cocktail sauce (bottled or homemade – I’ll admit to using bottled) in a thin, even layer on a piece of parchment.  Make the layer just thick enough that there are no holes or gaps in coverage. 
  2. Dehydrate in a food dehydrator at 135F for 2-3 hours or until it is dry to the touch.  If you don’t have a dehydrator, you may be able to achieve similar results in a low oven with the door cracked slightly.
  3. Carefully peel the parchment away from the dehydrated cocktail sauce.  It will peel away just like a fruit leather.  Place the cocktail “leathers” on a silpat or another sheet of parchment – they will stick to counters and cutting boards.
  4. Cut the leather into strips, 3/4” wide by 7” long (for medium shrimp – adjust the size as needed). 
  5. Cook shrimp using the method of your choice.  Refrigerate until cool.  Wrap the shrimp in cocktail leather.  Serve, and watch for the look of surprise on the faces of your guests.
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