Last week I received the elBulli Texturas MiniKit that I ordered from the UK. Not only did it include the groovy Texturas ingredients, but also the tools and guidebook that I needed to really jump into this brave new world.
The tools that came with the elBulli Texturas kit included a collecting (straining) spoon, measuring spoons and a syringe. I have to say, there is something sort of thrilling about using tools with “Albert Y Ferran Adrià” ENGRAVED on them. It’s silly, but it makes the experience a little more special.
The phrase “Molecular Gastronomy ” (or molecular cooking) used to scare me. It sounded like brainy “science fiction” gibberish, especially when I started reading about techniques called “spherification” and “emulsification”.
My current obsession with it began after I attended a “Molecular Gastronomy” class in November. The next day I started ordering the special ingredients and tools, then created a “molecular cooking” corner in my funky, vintage kitchen. During that first class, our instructor (the awesome Chef Michael Young) demonstrated how to make Ferran Adria’s fruit caviar, but I didn’t actually get to try the caviar recipe that day.
A couple of years ago, I remember being dumbfounded while watching Ferran and Albert Adrià working at their elBulliTaller (laboratory) in Barcelona, Spain. It was on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episode titled “Decoding Ferran Adrià“. The brothers Adrià were showing Bourdain how to make mango “caviar” and I thought, “I wish I could do THAT in my kitchen!”.
Well I’m very proud to say that yesterday… I did it. I spent all afternoon making various sizes of elBulli “caviar”. It was AWESOME.
What I’ve discovered thus far is that “molecular cooking” requires three SIMPLE things:
1. Special ingredients such as Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride…
2. Tools including a digital scale, squeeze bottle and straining spoon…
3. And most of all… ENTHUSIASM!
Recipe for Ruby Red Grapefruit “Caviar” (I picked Ruby Red Grapefruit for the color… such a pretty pale pink!)
9 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
18 oz. Cold Water
1 g Sodium Alginate (or Algin)
3 g Calcium Chloride (or Calcic)
1 large bowl
2 medium bowls
Fine mesh strainer
1. In one of the medium bowls, fill with cold water until the bottom is covered up to about four inches. Set this water bath aside. It will be used as the final step in making the fruit caviar.
2. In the large bowl, mix the sodium alginate with 1/2 the fruit juice and blend till completely dissolved.
3. Mix in the remaining fruit juice
4. Strain into empty medium bowl and allow to sit to remove any air bubbles.
5. In a medium bowl, dissolve the calcium chloride in the 18 oz. of cold water. I used a small whisk and it took about a minute to be completely dissolved.
6. Fill syringe or squeeze bottle with the juice mixture. It will be a little thick and “goopy”.
7. Gently discharge the mixture into the calcium chloride bath drop by drop.
8. After a minute, gently remove the “caviar” using a straining spoon and add to the cold water bath.
9. Wait a couple of minutes then remove the “caviar” from the fresh water into a serving bowl or serving spoon.
Note: I had a kitchen towel folded next to the water bath. Right after removing a spoonful of caviar (with the straining or collecting spoon), I gently tapped the bottom of the spoon onto the towel and it removed the excess water.
10. Serve and enjoy!
My Trio of Sizes.
I see Ferran Adrià’s “Liquid Olives” in the very near future!!!
“Adventures in Molecular Cooking ”
“Adventures in Molecular Cooking ”
About Molecular Gastronomy:
Video of Hervé This discussing Molecular Gastronomy
Books: Molecular Gastronomy by Hervé This and Malcolm DeBevoise
Where to buy ingredients:
Infusions LTD sells an elBulli “mini starter kit”.
Books about Molecular Cooking:
Under Pressure: Cooking Sous-Vide by Thomas Keller
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
A Day at el Bulli by Ferran Adria
Alinea by Grant Achatz
Kitchen Chemistry by Ted Lister and Heston Blumenthal
The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal
Ferran Adrià’s team demonstrates how to make fruit caviar
Ferran Adria’s Pea Ravioli
Molecular Gastronomy & Molecular Cooking on TV:
Be sure to look out for a terrific molecular cooking episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” titled “The Inventors” (the series is currently in reruns). It features Herve This, PolyScience inventor Philip Preston (Anti-Griddle and Immersion Circulators) and Nathan Myhrvold, a former CTO of Microsoft turned Sous-Vide master. Short video clip here.
José Andrés Made in Spain. If you missed it the yogurt spherification episode, it’s titled “Paella Day”
Read more about Spherification here
A recent Time Magazine article about Ferran Adria
Very excited to meet Ferran Adria!