On Saturday, one of the dishes we served was venison tartare with cranberry horseradish puree and smoked onion rings. In order to smoke the onion rings we vacuum compressed giant onion rounds in a smoke-water brine. The slices of raw onion became impregnated with the brine and the compression gave the rings a beautiful translucence. When we started to prepare the rings for frying, first we needed to pat them dry. Moments before we poured the smoke and now onion infused brine down the drain, an idea blossomed. Since Michael had brought his carbonating rig with him, we could carbonate the smokey onion brine and use that to make the tempura batter for the smoked onion rings. This would allow us to reinforce the flavors and nothing would end up being wasted. As we carbonated the water and then recarbonated the actual tempura batter, more ideas blossomed. We can make shrimp tempura with carbonated shrimp stock and fish and chips with carbonated malt vinegar and mayonnaise consomme. Sure, we can make colas and sparkling beverages, though this particular practical application, a very simple one, pushed me over the edge from wanting a carbonating rig to planning out how to convince Aki that we just have to have one.
Thank you Cathy for the photograph.