The question is often asked how does one infuse the most amount of flavor in the least amount of time? We have worked with various ideas which involve the use of pressure to help infuse and break down ingredients for cooking. Nathan Myhrvold mentioned sparked some base thoughts with the ideas of what would happen to asparagus in a giant pressure chamber. We would have the texture of cooked without the heat. In fact, that is what we were working towards with our cryo-blanching we wrote about several months ago. I was reintroduced to the concept and the power of pressure when talking with Wylie who was trying to shorten his brining times. I came away from the conversation with the idea of a high pressure brine box. Actually, I wanted a box where the air could be sucked out and thus the internal pressure would build allowing for an increased exchange in osmotic pressure. This is slightly different than the pressure chamber, though it is along the same lines. Then, just two days ago I was talking with Sean Brock about the infusion of flavor and my quest for a pressure chamber. Eureka. Sean noted that an isi canister can hold about 80 pounds of pressure, far greater than the 14 pounds of pressure applied in vacuum sealing. We then bounced ideas of brines and what we could put in the mini chamber. I liked scallops with chicken skin brine. He had some scallops and foie gras consomme on hand which he could adjust as a brine. He executed the idea and with that demonstrated the great potential of brining in chambers.
Furthermore, Sean will be sharing his culinary conversation later today. I received a note that he is having some technical difficulties and that we should not worry, the piece is on the way.