Ice-Filtered Lamb Jelly, Braised Lamb Tongue and Cucumber Salad, Best End of Lamb, Onion and Thyme Fluid Gel, Hotpot with Sweetbread and Oyster
Specialty Equipment: pressure cooker, water bath, vacuum machine, digital thermometer
Specialty Ingredients: gellan F, nitrite salt, gelatine 170 Bloom, patience
Dish as in The Fat Duck*:
* I think the little meat/potatoe part of the first photo is a miniature hotpot, so the separate hotpot dish is either dropped or added to the dish.
‘Hello, this is a report of my quest to tackle the Big Fat Duck Cookbook. The horror!!!’ I wrote this back when I just started the blog without any Fat Duck dishes under my belt. Looking back I was clueless when I put the words online, and must say the horror manifested itself in areas you might overlook. The hunt for ingredients, the planning of dishes to be able to regularly update, to the photographing and sorting of photos and writing it all down step for step. Cooking dishes on the other hand, with all the other stuff taken care of, was, for the most part, not a horrific endeavor, with a few exceptions. This lamb dish is one of those exceptions, the cooking requiring a level of patience I’ve not encountered before. It may be thé Crazy Ass Recipe of the book. Three stocks, lots of brining, multiple days of cooking of several items, ice filtration, a fluid gel, surgical precision, difficult to understand instructions and more.
I had a hunch about the craziness of this dish and it is probably the reason I put off making it until I had no choice. The funny thing it is one of the most classical recipes of the book. A rack of lamb, a hotpot and a classic jellied stock (aspic) are, as noted in the introduction, classics. Cooking the components require not so classical methods though. For me another example to counter ‘foam arguments’ (know what I mean?) against modern cuisine or molecular gastronomy if you insist to call it that. Here techniques are used to update or improve preparation methods like braising, roasting, making a puree and making a stock. I really can’t do anything else than say that, for instance, tongue cooked for 2 days is like nothing else. Absolutely incredible. Or that an onion fluid gel, dressing up as a puree, is so tasty, smooth and explosive I wonder if a classic onion puree could ever come close.
Oh, I have these moments I start to ramble on and forget the post still has 40 photos to go with accompanying text. Back to the main subject of the recipe: lamb. You have to use a variety of lamb cuts for this dish: neck, tongue, shoulder, rack, sweetbread and bones. A lamb extravaganza! I started with all the stock components of the dish, which include a sauce, a consommé and a braising liquid for the potatoes.