Sometimes ideas come about from a confluence of ideas and inspirations. We've been working with lentils and coconut. First Alex made coconut lentils. Then we drained off the broth and folded in coconut cream to make creamy coconut lentils, which will be part of our sous vide workshop for the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress. We had some leftover coconut cream and the lentil cooking liquid (primarily coconut water) and so we combined the two to make a light, silky coconut lentil sauce.
Meanwhile we had been discussing Mediterranean food, mainly falafel and tabouleh. We happened to come across some gorgeous scallops at Whole Foods and so Alex decided to make a scallop "tabouleh", only in is head it was made with couscous instead of bulgur. But that didn't really matter because he was only trying recreate the texture of the grain. He finely minced several scallops and then slowly cooked them in olive oil. Once they were cooked he cooled them down and used a food processor to mince them into the grain size he was looking for. Then he folded in chopped mitsuba, Yuzusco and lemon oil. It a passing resemblence to bulgur in its texture and bright herbal flavors but no one would have guessed the connection unless they were told. It's the difference between inspiration and recreation.
He then added some seared scallops which were gently torn into pieces by hand. These were dressed in their own juices and added to the plate. The final major piece came from small coconut bowties, made by dehydrating coconut cream seasoned with ground grains of paradise and Tasmanian peppercorns. A few garlic chive blossoms and mitsuba leaves were all that we needed to finish the dish. It had a variety of flavors and textures playing off one another, the sweet, salty, nutty, earthy, herbal notes each playing its part and creating something much more than just the sum of its parts. There may not have been a clear plan when we began cooking but fitting together the pieces is what we do best.