The idea of rendering fat is not new. The idea of flavoring fats is not new. The idea of flavoring fats as they are being rendered is just a way of saving some time. Smoking beef fat and then rendering it was a life changing experience. Since then, anything goes. A go to for infusing tallow with flavor is the spice mix vadouvan. When the smoker is not easily accessible, the spice cabinet must surely be. Beef, by the way, is not the only animal with fat. These ideas may be spread across a wide range of ingredients from lamb to chicken.
Once the fat is flavored, we have a new building block to create with. Over the weekend we brushed hiramasa with the vadouvan tallow and then warmed it in the cvap. In looking at the dish today, and being out of hiramasa, we made a another discovery. Use flavored fats for searing as opposed to gently warming and seasoning adds depth to the ingredient being cooked. Today we seared scallops in the vadouvan beef fat and paired it with an eggplant puree, aerated olive brine-cider and a couple of nasturtium leaves. The intense flavor of the vadouvan is tempered in the cooking process and adds a beautiful savoriness to the scallop. The fact that the medium was beef fat does not hurt. Perhaps tomorrow we will be a bit more traditional and make horseradish flavored tallow. It would be great to confit a beef heart or sear a few more scallops.