January 2, 2014

Home Cooking: Manresa

I figured I would try to drive myself crazy one last time in 2013 and cook from David Kinch's beautiful new cookbook based on his cooking at Manresa. I've tackled some time-consuming dishes, dishes with intricate plating at home before (French Laundry dinners); however, Manresa takes it to the next level. Each dish has three, four, five or more components, and each component has a rather long list of often hard to find ingredients.
There is a real commitment to seasonal-vegetable-based cooking at Manresa, which seems to lend itself to spring and summer dishes. However, I found a things to make despite the winter weather. Crispy mussels, with mussel emulsion (thickened with agar agar), bean sprouts, orange emulsion, and edible flowers. This is one of the easier dishes I tackled, and it was well worth the investment in time and cost. A good dish.
Sprouted lentils for the tomato dashi and egg dish. I had never sprouted lentils before. The process requires soaking the lentils in water for 24 hours, then covering the drained lentils on a cookie sheet and covering with a damp towel for two to three days. The sprouted lentils have an incredible earthy flavor, a taste that makes one think of fresh cut grass.
Tomato-spiced dashi, sprouted lentils, chicken and egg. This dish was certainly tastier than my plated picture above. It was also one of the more complicated courses to prepare. The just poached egg yolk is topped with dehydrated capers and olives, and spiced sourdough bread crumbs.
The dashi alone took three days and twenty-something ingredients. Kinch uses a freeze-filtering method to remove impurities from the dashi.
Parmesan churros. Just for fun. Easy and tasty snacks that are addictive. I also made Kinch's famous elemental oyster dish which is like eating the essence of the sea. Oysters are tied shut and quickly poached before being topped with seaweed gel and toasted nori. A great bite. There are a good number of additional dishes in the book I look forward to making. When time allows, of course.

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