Red Cabbage Gazpacho, Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream
Specialty Equipment: vacuum machine, ice cream machine, juicer
Specialty Ingredients: none
Dish as in The Fat Duck:
After the cauliflower dish I was thinking what to cook next. I flipped through the recipes and found that almost every dish contained an ingredient or piece of equipment I do not possess. Stuff like transglutaminase, gellan LT100, maltodextrin DE19, yellow pectin, sheet gelatine Bloom 170, powdered gelatine Bloom 200 and a (professional) vacuum machine still elude me. I got in contact with a chemical supplier over the weekend and I am hoping I can get some stuff from them. There are sources online, like L’Epicerie, but they don’t send to my country and they sell a lot of stuff in large quantities, so purchasing for example gellan LT100 would be expensive, since I only need a few grams for all the recipes.
Luckily there is a dish that does not require any of this stuff, the Mustard Ice Cream and Red Cabbage Gazpacho. Let me begin by saying the ice cream was a bit sweet and, after doing research on the internet, did not contain the spicy kick like it should. The cookbooks states ‘pommery grain mustard’ for the mustard, so I got ‘moutarde de meaux’. The same brand also sells a spicy one, the ‘moutarde des pompiers’ (translated ‘firemen’s mustard’), that would, I think, work better in the ice cream. The meaux one is too sweet for my taste.
First I made the ice cream by separating some eggs, mixing it with sugar and blending it for 5 minutes until the mixture became white.
Next was the milk base, with powdered milk to give it some body.
The milk is brought up to 60°C and poured over the egg yolks. The mixture is then heated to 70°C and blended for 10 minutes. This is lower than conventional methods of making a custard base, so the result is thinner than normal. I remember an episode on Kitchen Chemistry where Heston says that heating above this temperature gives an ‘eggy’ taste, so he stays below, with the disadvantage the mix is less thick. In combination with the low sugar content I was foreseeing problems with my domestic ice cream machine…
After pasteurization I let the mixture cool, added the mustard, let it mature in the fridge for 24 hours and churned it. The ice cream was not as smooth as I would have liked, but still within the boundaries of the acceptable.
Next was the red cabbage. I love braised red cabbage and a gazpacho made from red cabbage sounded like a really good idea to me. I’ve never used the juice before, but love to make stocks out of vegetables. A tomato, beetroot, apple or sauerkraut stock is a wonderful base for soups, risottos or sauces.
I don’t own a juicer, so my war plan of freeing the juice from the cabbage was chopping it up, cut it up in a blender and push all the juice out in a muslin (I used a hair net). The book recommends 2 cabbages, but 1 did the job for me.
I added white bread to the cabbage juice, let it sit for 2 hours and passed it through a sieve. Anyone up for red cabbage flavored bread?
Next was the red wine mayonnaise, which I made in a mixer (read the cookbook for the origin of adding a mayonnaise to a gazpacho). This stuff is amazing, I recommend giving it a go.
The mayonnaise needs to then be blended into the gazpacho juice along with A LOT of cabernet sauvignon vinegar. I use the vinegar from FORVM, who also sell a chardonnay vinegar, which have an amazing flavor. Nothing like the cheap ones from the supermarket. It is very IMPORTANT to blend the mayonnaise and gazpacho in a mixer to fully incorporate the two. I mixed the two together with a spatula and ended up with a white surface on the gazpacho due to the mayonnaise. This hid the beautiful color underneath, so blend them like hell and let the mixture sit for a while to get rid of the air bubbles (the flame of a crème brûlée blowtorch aimed at the air bubbles works wonders).
The last thing to do were the cucumbers and I was not looking forward to this part. You have to cut slices of 2mm, vacuum pack them and slice them in brunoise. Easy, apart from the vacuuming, because it has to be done in a real vacuum machine to put the cucumbers under vacuum (sous vide). This is the real meaning of sous vide, not cooking on a low temperature, but cooking under vacuum. The cucumbers are also not compressed, but the air is removed in the vacuum machine and the cucumber is then subjected to more pressure than before. With hesitation I visited a local butcher with the cucumbers under my arm (it would be easier if I came there all the time, which I don’t), waiting like a hawk till the shop was free of customers and asked if they would put my slices of cucumber in a vacuum machine. I expected laughter or eyes staring at me in wonder, but they were really kind and did it for me without hesitation. Phew. As you can see in the second and third picture the cucumber becomes wonderful translucent and light green and the flavor is intensified. Finally, plating time.
Before serving the book states to add some fresh red cabbage juice. Apparently the odorless compounds of freshly juiced cabbage diminish over time, so by adding fresh juice the natural enzymes in cabbage can react with these compounds to ultimately enhance the flavor. This technique is also used in the cauliflower risotto, where just before serving some fresh cauliflower juice is added to the risotto.
The color of the gazpacho was stunning, but the ice cream could have had a better shape. Taste wise I found the acid level a bit high, so I diluted the gazpacho with more fresh juice than recommended in the book. Besides that the taste was awesome, really pungent, to the point that one small bowl is more than enough. The ice cream was a bit too sweet, but I should probably use another mustard. The compressed cucumbers really gave a nice crunch to the dish and a refreshing mouthfeel with all the strong flavors around. In the cookbook this is really one of the easier dishes, but the visual and flavor impact is so high, that it would make a wonderful course for an extravagant dinner.