We recently attended a seminar on miso at the French Culinary Institute which was incredibly inspirational. We learned about tempering miso's astringency with egg yolks and dashi. We witnessed miso blending, both as itself and with other ingredients like yuzu and walnuts. In fact, the demonstration rekindled our own thoughts on working with miso from the white miso-yellow cake with smoked pecan ice cream we are working on to our myriad range of fruit infused misos, from cranberry to apricot.
The miso blends and the ideas they sparked truly caught my attention. Though it was the links of daikon radish which were used to accent an elaborate sushi platter which had me transfixed. The links were interlocked without any seam. It was a mastery of knife skills and practice. I could not figure out how it was done. As I sat there, staring at the links the inherent structure formed in my mind's eye. As the demonstration concluded they humored my question about how the links were made. They took a piece of daikon and started carving. I watched transfixed, with my eyes on each swift movement of the knife tip. Someone stood in front of me for a moment and I almost broke the silence and shouted "Get out of the way!" Thankfully the person moved and the outburst became unnecessary. It was amazing to watch the chef's knife work shape the daikon into links. I needed to learn how to do this. I made rough sketches and tried to capture the steps in my mind. After the links were cut, the chefs pulled out a baby carrot which they had carved into an eight link chain with the carrot top and bottom at either end. The carrot certainly trumped the simple daikon links.
We returned home and I let the demonstration settle in my brain. This morning I headed to the market in search of potatoes. I wanted to master the link technique. I bought three potatoes. Perhaps I was a bit optimistic about my memory and knife skills. I started cutting and at first bumbled. After a brief pause and a moment of reflection I started again. The next three attempts took me from rough edges to completed links. That was truly an exciting progression. Now we need to apply our twice cooked potato approach (starting with whole potatoes in their jackets) to the links so that we can make a smoked potato link which will then be fried.
The goal, smoked potato link fries. The venue, Sean's place, next weekend.