Dont u beleive everything what u read. Thats my only advice. I mean – there is always a reason why things been written down, so take them into consideration, try them and see. Most of the times your instinct is right. Oh BTW im talkin about flavour compairings.
Trillions and billions of books plus websites plus applications help u to find what u are looking for in the labirinth of flavours. Harmony and the balance we all would like to achive. (me personally, im in a different level now where i m looking for ‘WOW factor’ lets just call like this)
What im talking about exactly… let me bring my brand new dish from today as an example. My original idea was:
This was the combination born in my head. Why? Simple because… i know
- ajo blanco was originally served with grapes as garnish
- morcilla is a black pudding spanish style which originally contains almond
- ajo blanco is made from almond and garlic
- morcilla made from blood – i love the sanguinaccio, which is a blood&chocolate pudding
- chocolate and almond great together as chocolate and any other onions
- surf and turf: squid from the sea and blood from the field
- (plus i think i ve seen somewhere in Barcelona serving morcilla with calamari)
After all this knowledge i had an idea in my head that these ingredients will work together. But then… i opened a new website im registered lately. Its all about flavour combinations – but obviously it can not be as precise as your tounge because the items are limited. First (and only) match for ‘squid’ was ‘sauerkraut’. Ok. After… came along the ‘oat’ as a successful player. Last one i picked the butter – cause everything is better with butter we all know that. So after this surfing online:
Well we can admit – it doesnt go that faaaaar from the original version right? It can actually work, i was just planning to make my ajo blanco with oat plus some cruncy oat crumble for texture. The fermented cabbage… well … on paper could work if it gets acidic enought to bring some freshness to the dish (still missing the fruitiness but whatever…)
Ready-steady-go. I cleaned the squid, and mixed the morcilla with shallots, chopped sauerkraut and oats – poured over some melted butter not to let the stuffing dry out. Stuffed the body of the little squid and vacpac, sous vide 58 degrees 60 min. Meanwhile toasted garlic, added half/half oats and almonds and cooked this with milk then blend, strain. Coloured bit of oats with butter, salt n sugar for crumb and julienned my beautiful purple sauerkraut what was fermenting in peace in the last 2 months.
Timer off, squid is out, quickly sear the body (was pleased cause it held its shape nicely) with the cleaned legs and wings. Plating up – ajo blanco, squid like whole, crumble and cabbage on top. Beautiful beautiful plate. Indeed. But.
Sauerkraut wasnt sour enough – more salty – so wasnt bad but didnt serve its purpose in the dish. Needed more acidity – which i belive the grapes or apples can complete easily. Plus the ajo blanco should ve been seasoned with sherry vinegar – only that i didnt have any. General feedback was – very very very good. But i m running after this ‘WOW’ factor. So my sauerkraut is going to be dehydrated tonight to blend into a powder to season the dish but not taking part of ‘being there’. And i will get grapes in the house and apples at some form (maybe apple puree or fermented apple juice… lets see!
Having a crazy idea and after stuffing my squid i poured some sauerkraut juice in the tiny vac pac bag to sous vide like this in a natural ‘brine’. Jumped in the waterbath for an hour. Meanwhile i got garlic, almonds n oatmilk – made a thicker ajo blanco which i seasoned with sherry vinegar – lovely and smooth. Got some lovely sharp grapes which i pinched one by one and vacpac again with the juice of sauerkraut. Oh btw this one was coming out from the oven after all night drying out – so i blend it into a fine powder which is almonst working like an umami sauerkraut salt. Crazy good. (but next time instead of 50 we should put 40 degrees on. Ok… timer off – quickly searing the squid. I ve noticed that the body is much more delicate and it brakes while im searing. It holds it shape but when u are on the edge of becoming mushy… obviously cause of the brine.
Nomatter how amazing purple color it gets, but overbrined badly. Hardly can hold its stuffing. Also when u eat it the texture of the squid feels the same than the morcilla puree. I need to decide what i want – if i insist to keep that awesome color i might need to reduce the sous vide time till it still have texture – i should try like half hour. Or forget the purple unicorn and go natural without brine.
Ok, going further. Ajo blanco is very nice – much more better than yesterday – but as i just mentioned its all a bit too creamy – overbrined squid. Also the crumb (for texture) should be toasted almond flakes not oat. Grapes are not just f@ckin beautiful but bringing the fruity acidity to the plate what we were missing yesterday. The very top for me still the sauerkraut powder – using to season and to bring all the flavours together.
Overall; happy just need to sort out the question of purple or not purple squid… haha.