Just because you hear something does not make it so. I strongly believe and am continuously convinced that if something should not be, then it is a great place to launch an idea.
I received an email from Sean Brock yesterday asking if we had ever used transglutaminase with sweetbreads. He had the idea of making a roulade of sweetbreads and was just beginning the process from idea to execution. I had previously not tried cross linking sweetbreads before because I had heard that transglutaminase did not work with organ meats. Well, upon hearing Sean's question I figured we should give it a shot, we had not actually tried to make a roulade or in our case a block of sweetbreads. Guess what, it works.
Similarly, I was recently introduced to Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef at restaurant Jean George. Johnny has more energy than anyone I can recall. His energy is contagious as are his queries about food. He is working on a new white chocolate sorbet which has a base of clear white chocolate. Our discussions led me in the direction of white chocolate and toasted curry leaves. As it turns out we made a sauce with those two ingredients last year, yet the spark today emerged from Johnny's idea of making clear white chocolate. We have put together a clear white chocolate broth flavored with toasted curry leaves and brown butter. My initial idea was to serve the broth with seared scallops, yet the sweetbreads end up being an equally natural fit.
In today's dish we serve the broth chilled with Asian pears and arugula with the crispy cube of sweetbreads on top. Originally I wanted to serve the clear white chocolate hot, however the amount of dairy in my initial broth actually precipitates out of the clear liquid when it is heated. Today we have adapted. The dish is tasty and actually to two temperatures complement each other very well.
What is even more exciting is seeing what avenues these two chefs take with ideas which began as simple conversations.