We had another simple breakthrough yesterday. While we've looked at using liquid nitrogen to finely grind nuts, grains, legumes and vegetables, we overlooked proteins. It turns out that powdered shrimp is not only promising, it is achievable. Our first tests, tastes, were with a shrimp sheet flavored with bush basil and cayenne which we ground into a light powder with the help of liquid nitrogen and a blender. The fine and uniform quality of the pulverized shrimp is amazing. It is also exciting to note that there is little to no syneresis in the powdered shrimp as it thaws from frozen to cold.
Of course if it works with shrimp it will work with other proteins as well. Imagine being able to use strongly flavored proteins as the final seasoning for a dish. You could accent dishes with intense flavor without using large amounts. Years ago we would freeze smoked foie gras and use a hand-held Mouli cheese grater to flake it over a cube of seared, center cut ribeye. Now we can think about an even more refined presentation and we may branch out to powdered uni or aged cheddar or chorizo. This is especially intriguing in the summertime when courses are smaller and meals are lighter in general. It also makes sense in this economic climate, as the price of luxury ingredients edges ever higher. Freezing and grinding with liquid nitrogen may be a very useful technique in the modern kitchen.