Sound of the Sea
Specialty Equipment: water bath, vacuum machine, thermometer
Specialty Ingredients: soya lecithin, sodium caseinate, N-Zorbit M maltodextrin, blue shimmer powder, brown carbonized vegetable powder
Days: 3 (1 month when making the ponzu)
Dish as in The Fat Duck:
The final dish. I think I’ve easily spent the most time on this dish. Obtaining some of the ingredients was pretty difficult. I say ‘obtaining’, but ‘trying to obtain’ are better words to describe what I did. Cooking the dish itself is actually not that hard, but the thing is in freaking Japanese: thin mouth soy sauce, rishiri-kombu, cod liver oil, shirasu, N-Zorbit M tapioca maltodextrin, blue shimmer powder, brown carbonized vegetable powder, dried dulse seaweed, dried hijiki seaweed, tamari soy sauce, Japanese lily bulb, dried wakame seaweed, shiro shoyu, fresh Codium seaweed, fresh yuzu, fresh sudachi, katsuo bushi, soya lecithin, sodium caseinate. WWWWW-What?!!!
In the end I got to grips with the ingredients, but was not able to get every one. I hope thou can forgive me. Here’s a list of the harder-to-find/possibly unfamiliar ingredients and where you can get them if you were so inclined:
Dried dulse seawead / dried hijiki seaweed / dried wakame seaweed – Almost every Japanese store sells them, although I never encountered dried dulse seaweed and dried it myself.
Fresh Codium seaweed – This was in the end not too hard to find. Two fishmongers could order it, but they both had a minimum order of 1kg, costing 45€. I couldn’t find a store selling it in smaller quantities, so to keep the costs down (and not tip the scale to having been able to eat the tasting menu at The Fat Duck from the combined costs of this recipe) I skipped this type of seaweed.
Thin mouth soy sauce (usu kuchi shoyu) / tamari soy sauce / white soy sauce (shiro shoyu) – The first two are sold by Japanese stores, but the white soy sauce may be a bit harder to find. I’ve dedicated, all in all, days trying to find some. I went online (the ones that sold it didn’t send it overseas), to Japanese stores, restaurants and more. I’m still pretty pissed off thinking about it. I won’t rest until I have some in my possession, although I might not have any need for it anymore.
Rishiri-kombu – Kombu, the Japanese kelp used in dashi, is sold everywhere. There are however a number of varieties and must say I’ve never found rishiri-kombu. In one Japanese store I found almost all the varieties, but they didn’t sold the rishiri one. I used kombu labeled as ‘dashi kombu’.
Japanese lily bulb – I was mislead by the word ‘Japanese’. In fact the Chinese adore the stuff and you can find it in Chinese stores, sold as ‘fresh lily bulbs’. It is tasty as hell by the way.
Shirasu – Almost every Oriental store sells these baby anchovies in the refrigerated section.
N-Zorbit M tapioca maltodextrin – National Food and Starch sends out samples (thanks you guys!).
Blue shimmer powder – Not too sure what it is, but Mandy pointed me to edible glitter and it seems to be the same product. It is sold everywhere. I got it at Ebay, but the weather was not playing along. We’ve been seeing snow and frost like nothing before in early December here in Western Europe. It has affected air traffic, which means my blue shimmer powder is still in the mail.
Brown carbonized vegetable powder – Your guess is as good as mine.
Soya lecithin / sodium caseinate – The first is sold everywhere. I skipped the second powder because it is a foam stabilizer and found that at home it is not really necessary (see the Anjou pigeon dish). If you do want to get it check Ebay for ‘casein’.
So, with almost all the ingredients and some understanding of them all I started with the recipe. I made the ponzu 1 month before finishing the dish. It is made from sake, fresh yuzu, fresh sudachi, mirin, rice wine vinegar, tamari soy sauce, thin mouth soy sauce, katsuo bushi and rishiri-kombu. I substituted the citrus fruits with fresh lime and store bought yuzu juice.