Son of Sam I Am

I wanted to try a simpler menu for She Who Must Be Obeyed’s birthday dinner, especially after I remembered all of the work that went into last year’s affair. Still, I knew our guests would be expecting something with a modernist twist, which led to my unearthing this recipe that I had filed away last year.

I knew from prior testing that although the chemistry was straightforward, forming the spheres would try my patience. While shopping online for ingredients, I noticed a silicone mold designed to form perfect half-spheres that would be the perfect solution to my problem: How would I make the spheres a la minute without tearing my hair out?

Not leaving anything to chance, I prepared a test batch of pea puree, added the sodium alginate, then filled the mold.

Once they were frozen I prepared a calcium chloride solution and heated it to 110 °F, figuring it would take about five minutes for the spheres to thaw. Once the bath was ready, I dropped in a handful of the frozen half-spheres.

As they warmed up, I flipped the spheres over every 30 seconds or so, which produced a more rounded shape. After five minutes I strained them out and rinsed them in a warm distilled water bath.

About an hour before dinner I sliced brioche into small triangles, dipped them in egg/cream/maple syrup batter, then sautéed them until brown. While the toast cooked I caramelized shallots in sherry vinegar and brown sugar. I prepared a new batch of spheres from fresh pea/mint puree I made earlier in the day, holding them in the warm water bath. To plate, I layered each toast triangle with a slice of prosciutto and some of the caramelized shallots, topped with a pea sphere.

This dish was a hit, with one guest proclaiming it “a perfect little bite.”

I was asked so many questions about how the spheres were made that I hosted a short demo in the kitchen after dinner:

As you can see, forming the spheres by hand is not the way to go. Now that I’ve mastered the technique, I’ll be trying other flavors soon.

This entry was posted in food & cooking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.