FOUR’s collection of festive recipes have been an adventurous lot so far, featuring Rene Redzepi’s Mutsu Apples and Reindeer Tongue, X-treme Chinese cuisine from Alvin Leung and now this unsettlingly entitled abalone dish featuring pickled kelp and mushroom gel, Tidal Pool, courtesy of US chef David Kinch.
Over the last few years, David has forged a distinctive culinary path, gaining his restaurant Manresa two Michelin stars and putting himself at the forefront of California’s contemporary cuisine scene. Taken from his latest cookbook, Manresa, Tidal Pool is a homage to David’s love of California’s culinary terroir and his passion for farm-to-plate cooking, not to mention the perfect winter-warmer for those frostier days this festive season.
A Winter Tidal Pool
115ml unseasoned rice wine vinegar
115ml white wine vinegar
55g battera kombu, rinsed in cold water and cut crosswise into 3/4 inch-wide strips
115g red abalone 31/2 inches long
20g dried shiitake mushrooms
200ml warm water
5-10g dark soy sauce
120ml oyster liquid, strained through cheesecloth
Pinch of edible silver flake
1000g low-mineral content water
12g dried shiitake mushrooms
15g dried large kombu
25g bonito flakes, thinly shaved
30-60g white soy sauce
Grapeseed oil, for frying
1-2 sheets gold nori
80g foie gras, sliced into 10g pieces
8 cleaned sea urchin tongues
20 New Zealand spinach leaves
20 small Malabar spinach leaves
Green scallion tops, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water until curled
1-2 bunches enoki mushrooms, stems trimmed to 1 inch
1-2 whole yuzu or Meyer lemons
Whisk the vinegars, water, and sugar together and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Submerge the kombu in the pickling liquid, cover and leave to steep overnight in the refrigerator. The pickled kombu can be made ahead of time and will keep for months.
Remove the abalone from its shell and remove the viscera with kitchen shears. Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water to relax the meat. Place the abalone between 2 kitchen towels with the foot side up and pound forcefully with a meat pounder or a heavy pan until the foot flattens (typically, this takes 2 good blows.) Allow it to rest in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Soak the mushrooms in the water for at least 6 hours or overnight. Strain the mixture, reserving the mushrooms for another use and season the liquid with soy sauce and salt. Weigh the seasoned liquid and then transfer to a blender. Weigh out xanthan equaling 0.6 percent of the liquid weight (for example, for 100 grams of liquid, use 0.6 gram of xanthan). While blending on the lowest speed, gradually shear in the xanthan. Continue blending for approximately 5 or 6 minutes, until the mixture thickens and then strain the gel into a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum at 100%, without sealing (repeat 5 to 6 times to remove any air bubbles). The gel will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Season the oyster liquid to taste with salt and transfer to a blender. While blending on the lowest speed, gradually shear in the xanthan and add the silver flakes. Continue blending until the mixture thickens. Transfer the mixture to a vacuum seal bag without straining and vacuum at 100 % 5 to 6 times to remove any air bubbles. The gel will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Heat the water, mushrooms, and kombu in a large pan and cover until it reaches 60°C and leave for 1 hour. Remove and discard the kombu. Heat the mushrooms and broth to 80°C. Add the bonito flakes, stir for 15 seconds, and immediately strain through a cheesecloth or linen-towed lined chinois. Discard the solids and season the broth to taste with soy sauce, ponzu, and salt. If making ahead, keep it in the refrigerator.
Drain 2 pieces of Pickled Kelp per serving. Warm the Tidal Broth almost to a simmer, so that bubbles form on the bottom of the pan. Toast the nori by waving it over low heat until it crisps and turns a lighter shade of green. Tear the toasted nori into 1-inch pieces. Slice the raw abalone crosswise, as thinly as possible, cutting a few slices for each serving. Quickly stir-fry the abalone with grapeseed oil in a hot pan.
For each serving, place a slice of foie gras in a heated bowl topped with a sea urchin tongue, pickled kelp, and a few slices of abalone. Garnish with a few spinach leaves, curled scallions, 8 to 10 mushrooms, and 5 to 6 pieces of nori. Immediately before serving, add 90g of warm Tidal Broth to each bowl. Float several pools each of Mushroom Gel and Oyster Gel on top of the broth. With a fine grate yuzu zest over the entire bowl.