Something that is often overlooked is the second and third steps. The first step, that is monumental. The second and third steps are in many peoples minds just putting one foot in front of the other. However, in looking closer at a process or a dish the second or third steps are the evolution. We began with the idea of soaking vegetables in a salt and sugar solution and then either vacuum sealing them or vacuum sealing and freezing them. Sean took the second step, he tried using the juice of said fruit or vegetable in the bag to make the vegetable or fruit taste more like itself.
The next step is not using the vegetable itself, rather using other flavoring agents. I can point directly at the moment I thought of using other flavors to infuse our cryo blanched vegetables. I received an email from Wylie who was asking about whether we had tried using the appropriate vegetable juices in our process. I began typing saying that we had not though Sean had grabbed the baton and was running with it. Bingo, that was the moment. Sean was making vegetables more than the sum of their parts. What if we used other liquid flavoring agents? I suggested prosciutto broth with asparagus and fermented black bean with snap peas. That was the moment.
I soon received an email back. He and his team had the same thought and had produced asparagus in Parmesan consomme and snap peas in bacon broth with great successes. These are the second and third steps I am talking about. It starts with an idea and then the question what can be?
We just finished a dish of white asparagus vacuum sealed in clam broth. We skipped the freezing step in the process because we wanted to highlight the sweet crisp texture and flavor of the asparagus. Upon releasing the vacuum from the bag we reserved the clam-asparagus broth and blended it with some Meyer lemon juice and pistachio oil to create a delicate vinaigrette. We then sliced the asparagus and dressed it in its own vinaigrette. We paired the crisp asparagus with tender lump crab meat dressed in ranch dressing. The dish was finished with leaves of arugula.
We were quite happy with our fourth step.