It took some convincing to get me to make my own kimchi, but I knew if I ever wanted to have bo ssäm that it would be a necessary ingredient. However, once we had consumed the pork shoulder in a locust-like frenzy, I still had a lot of kimchi left over. I puréed some of it to use in a Fuji apple salad, but that still left a substantial amount to deal with. I couldn’t let it ferment for much longer – I didn’t want to experience truly stanky kimchi – so I searched though Momofuku for another application. The combination of kimchi and oysters had worked surprisingly well in the bo ssäm, so kimchi consommé for oysters seemd like a logical next step. I’d get to use the last of my supply, and learn a new technique – gelatin clarification – all in one go.
I gathered my ingredients: a half cup of puréed kimchi, one and a half cups of hot water, two sheets of gelatin, a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar.
I added the gelatin and water to a freezer-proof container and stirred to dissolve.
I added the kimchi, vinegar, sugar, and some freshly ground black pepper, and stirred to combine. I was satisfied with the level of kimchi heat, so I covered the container and put in it the freezer. Where it sat for two months while holidays, life, and sickness (good title for the next Arcade Fire record) got in the way.
I promised She Who Must Be Obeyed a belated Valentine’s day dinner last weekend, and thought some oysters with the consommé would be a good first course. To prepare, I unmolded the frozen kimchi-gelatin block from its container and placed it in a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. I returned this collection setup to the fridge.
After twenty four hours I wound up with a bowl full of clear liquid (seen at the top of this post) and a rubbery puck of kimchi, which I discarded. The gelatin had formed a matrix that trapped all of the particulates, allowing only the liquid component to seep through. This same technique can be used to create a consommé from any liquid, something I’l be sure to try soon.
I popped open six Island Creek oysters, set them in a bowl of ice, and spooned the consommé into the shells until they were full to the brim.
The heat and sweetness from the consommé were a perfect balance to the briny oysters. She Who and I agreed this was a fine alternative to more typical oyster garnishes. Unfortunately, the liquid will only keep for about a week, so we may have to force ourselves to eat more oysters. That, or I’ll have to make more kimchi. Or both.