I was reading Laurent Gras's blog this morning and was spurred into action. The dish which was my inspiration, speaks of his style and approach to cooking. We are fortunate enough to have several of his menus from his days at Peacock Alley framed on our walls. I can easily say his methodology and pristine aesthetic has certainly influenced me. And yet, I have never worked for him. I interviewed for a job many years ago, though my resume did not measure up. Still, I have been lucky enough to eat his food, read his menus and be inspired by his approach to cooking.
And that is why this morning I literally sprang from my seat when I saw his beautiful preparation of hirame seasoned with preserved lemon and caviar. So simple, so straight forward, so clean and so moving. The fish is pristine, the caviar perfection, though for me it is the preserved lemon which sparks the dish. The lemon unites the ingredients. I needed to have, taste, smell those lemons. Luckily, we had some Meyer lemons in our refrigerator. But how would I preserve Meyer lemons quickly enough to satisfy my inspiration? I slowed down to appreciate the fruit and to figure out how to make it happen. I removed the peel in one large piece, trimmed the pith and then seasoned the cleaned skin with salt and cayenne. I then placed the sections of lemon peel in a vacuum seal bag and let the machine do the work.
After a brief compression and a few hours in the refrigerator I am now happily working with preserved Meyer lemon rind. I am really enjoying the clarity of flavor and the ease of use. I may have to go out to the store and pick up a basket full of these beauties and preserve them for a rainy day. Nothing breaks through the gloom like the sunny yellow colors and flavors of a Meyer lemon. And now to work, sweet or savory? Where to begin?