Musk Melon Soup
Broken Honeydew Melon
1 honeydew melon
2 liters of liquid nitrogen
Using a sharp knife cut off the top and bottom of the melon. Stand it up on one of the cut ends and starting from the top, slice down around the fruit to peel the skin from the melon. Cut the peeled melon into quarters and cut out the seeds. Season the melon lightly with salt and then place into a vacuum bag. Vacuum compress the melon in the machine on the highest setting. The melon will transform from pale green to a translucent emerald green. When the melon is compressed, open the bag and pat the melon dry.
Pour two liters of liquid nitrogen into a Styrofoam cooler and then slide the melon quarters into the liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen will boil furiously so take caution when adding the melon. When the melon pieces are solid all the way through and begin to crack and show fissures they are cold enough to be broken. Remove the melon pieces and place in a clean metal bowl. Use a meat mallet to break the melon into shards, fragments and chunks. Use caution because the melon at this stage is extremely cold and it can cause frostbite if eaten or handled with bare fingers. Once the melon is broken into pieces, place it, still in the bowl, in the refrigerator to defrost. When the melon is completely thawed, place it and any juices in a smaller container and reserve.
Alternatively you can freeze the cleaned planks of melon in a re-sealable plastic bag overnight. Let the melon thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Remove the melon planks from the bag, reserving any juices. Dice the melon into 2cm cubes and return it to the plastic bag with the juice. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
500 grams Prosciutto San Daniele or Prosciutto de Parma fat and trim
50 grams water
Cut the prosciutto fat and trim into 2-3 cm pieces and place them in a pot large enough to comfortably hold the fat. Add the water to the pot and turn the flame on low. Slowly simmer the fat and water. The impurities will begin to bubble out of the fat and the water will reduce and evaporate. Once the water is evaporated, the fat will begin to render out of the prosciutto. Continue to cook slowly, stirring occasionally. The fat pieces and chunks will continue to shrink and slowly brown as the fat is rendered into the pot. When the initial prosciutto pieces have transformed into golden brown cracklings floating in liquid fat, the prosciutto oil is finished. Let it cool to room temperature and then strain the fat. Reserve the prosciutto oil and discard the rendered prosciutto pieces.
grams peeled 21-25 shrimp
4 grams fine sea salt
3.54 grams Activa RM transglutaminase powder
50 bush basil leaves
liters liquid nitrogen
Cut the shrimp into 1cm pieces then place in a bowl and season with the salt, and cayenne and mix to coat evenly. Sprinkle the Activa onto the shrimp and stir to coat evenly. Add the bush basil leaves and then place the shrimp in a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum seal the bag and then use a meat mallet to flatten the shrimp evenly to cover the interior of the bag into a uniform sheet. When the shrimp is completely flat it will look like a mosaic of shrimp. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight to allow the transglutaminase to bond the pieces of shrimp. The following day, place the bag into a water bath set at 52 degrees Celsius and cook the shrimp sheet in the bag for twenty minutes. When the time is up, place the bag into a large ice bath in order to rapidly chill the shrimp. When the shrimp are chilled, cut open the bag and remove the sheet. Lay it on a cutting board and cut into 6cm squares.
Place two liters of liquid nitrogen into a Styrofoam container and then slide the shrimp squares into the nitrogen. The nitrogen will boil furiously with the addition of the shrimp pieces. When the shrimp is frozen solid and the bubbling subsides use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp and place into a blender. Turn the blender on low and increase to high, grinding and pulverizing the shrimp into a fine powder. When a fine powder is achieved, turn the blender off and use a rubber spatula to scrape the frozen powder into a re-sealable plastic bag. Place the frozen powder in the freezer and reserve.
Alternatively, bring 1000 grams of water seasoned with 4 grams of salt and 0.25 grams of cayenne to a soft boil. Turn off the heat, slide in the cleaned shrimp and let the liquid cool at room temperature, uncovered. Once the shrimp are cool, place it in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a fine, crumbly mixture resembling couscous. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the shrimp into a re-sealable plastic bag. Place the shrimp in the refrigerator and reserve until needed.
610 grams peeled, seeded musk melon
60 grams tequila vinegar
10 grams melon juice
4 grams fine sea salt
5 dried lavender buds
5 gratings of nutmeg from a rasp grater
0.68 grams xanthan gum
Place the melon into a vacuum bag and vacuum seal on the highest level to compress the fruit cells. When the melon is compressed, cut the bag open, remove the melon, and reserve any juices left in the bag. Cut the melon into 2cm chunks and place in the blender with the tequila vinegar, the reserved melon juices, salt, lavender, and nutmeg. Puree the mixture for five minutes until the melon is completely smooth. With the blender still running, carefully remove the lid and sprinkle the xanthan gum into the vortex formed in the blender. Continue to blend on high until the xanthan gum is fully dispersed and the soup has thickened slightly. Strain the soup using a fine mesh conical strainer into a flat container with sides at least 12 cm tall.
To remove the air incorporated by blending the soup, place the soup in the container so that it comes only one third of the way up the sides. (There will most likely be more soup than fits in the container and this process will need to be repeated.) Place the melon soup and the container in the chamber of the vacuum machine and close the lid. The vacuum pulled on the chamber will begin to pull the air bubbles out of the soup. The soup will begin to climb the sides of the container and when it comes to just below the edge of the rim, shut the machine off. The chamber will then fill with air again and the soup will shrink back down in the dish having dispelled many of its air bubbles. This process should be repeated until the soup loses 95% of its air bubbles and changes from pale orange to an intense orange in color. Once the first batch of soup is free of air bubbles, remove it from the container and reserve in a bain marie or other suitable storage container. Repeat the process with the rest of the soup. Use immediately or reserve in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Alternatively you can prepare the soup one day in advance and let it rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the bubbles to dissipate before serving.
Broken Honeydew Melon
56 Small Nasturtium Leaves
Arrange a pile of broken honeydew in shallow bowls. Place a second smaller pile of the melon 6cm away on the flat side of the plate. Place a spoonful of shrimp powder on each pile of broken melon. Ladle the melon soup into the bowls around the garnish. Place two nasturtium leaves on the soup and two more leaves on the broken melon, which is cascading into the soup. Take one more leaf and place it on the back of the pile of melon touching the soup. Place the final two nasturtium leaves on either side the left and right of the broken melon on the flat portion of the plate. Drizzle 8-10 drops of prosciutto oil onto the top of the melon soup and 3-4 drops on the broken melon piles.