We decided to pair the potato pearls with actual tapioca. Alex wanted to try out a technique he found in Francisco J Migoya's new book The Modern Cafe. We've been fans of tapioca for years. As a child I loved bubble tea and the slippery, chewy texture of the pearls. Later we took the method that we learned for finishing rice pudding back in the day from Ken at Clio. This involved having a cooked rice base that was finished a la minute with creme anglaise and whipped cream. When applied to tapioca the results are spectacular especially since the anglaise and the cream can be flavored in any number of different ways. As always it is one small step from sweet to savory and in this case we liked the idea of juxtaposing the large potato pearls with small tapioca ones.
The technique in question involved adding the tapioca to cold water and bringing it to a simmer, rinsing the pearls under cold water to remove any tapioca slime and repeating the process four times. It worked beautifully and is just one more reason to take a closer look at The Modern Cafe. (We were lucky enough to get a review copy.) The book is about opening a modern style cafe and is as thoughtful and well researched as one would expect from a book by Francisco.