My thoughts on Molecular gastronomy
Its now several years after names like Ferran Adria, Herve This and others became well established as the New Top Chefs of the world, and I have followed this development with great interest. However my opinion is still I want my food to look like food.
I shiver at the thoughts of Foam, I do not like to deconstruct, only to construct it right back again, be it in another way or not.
Adding powders like Xanthan, Lecithin, Citras, Algin, Kappa and others make me worried, but why, I think its merely an older generation, I have never learned about these ingredients in school, and whilst I have them all in my kitchen I am still reluctant to serve them to my guests. Some of them are purely natural chemicals, derived from Algea etc, and some are manufactured chemicals.
True is that you when properly done can create some amazing results one example we saw on a demonstration was a modern way of presenting a classic onion soup, honestly it almost looks like a 1000 year old egg.
So how did he create this? Well first in a Roner, you cook eggs at 65 degrees Celsius for an hour or two, yes that is correct you read it right. An egg cooked at this temperature does not get well cooked, the whites simply stay a bit like soft jelly, more liquid then jelly though, however the yolk does become a bit solidified due to its membrane around it. So you open your egg, drop the shell, and drop the white, and you are left with a perfect soft egg yolk.
Next the broth will be dropped in a bath with a “food chemical” while the broth is still floating the top exposed part stays “open” through here you can drop in the egg yolk. Then with your fingers you pinch the top of the broth closed and dip it under. Carefully mold an egg shape out of it, and leave it to set for a while until the membrane ios thick enough to support.
Remove the “egg” from the bath and rinse with water. Now you can steam this egg to heat it, and plate it on a bed of sautéed onions and croutons, est voila you have Onion Soup, a very classical dish presented in a very modern way.
A Roner is a simple water bath but with a heating element that is computer controlled and exact to the degree, a small pump pumps the water around to ensure an even temperature all over the water bath.
One of the fun and quite easy to achieve things to make is Caviar, Caviar can be made out of almost any liquid, here we will make with melon.
250 Grams Cantaloupe Juice
2 grams Sodium Alginate
For the setting bath:
500 Grams Water
2.5 Grams Calcium Chloride
Mix Sodium Alginate with 1/3 of the Melon Juice and blend. Mix in remaining 2/3, strain and set aside. (If you have a vacuum machine, use it to get rid of any air bubbles in the juice or let it sit in the fridge overnight to do the same.)
Dissolve the Calcium Chloride in the water. Now fill a syringe or a specially made device for this (see picture) with the Melon Juice. Expel it drop by drop into the Calcium Chloride Solution.
Remove after 1 minute, strain and rinse in cold water.
My thoughts on Molecular Gastronomy, not good but also not bad, when used in the right way it can really be great, think of making a Pine Nut Oil Mayonnaise without the Eggs, now you can, think about salad Dressings in Supermarkets, how come the solid particles are perfectly suspended and why the vinegar and oil never separate…..now you know, because Molecular applications.
If you are interested in this kind of cuisine and would like to have a play, I suggest you start with downloading a few of the Hydrocolloid recipe Collections from this page http://khymos.org/recipe-collection.php at Khymos Website