|From Drop Box|
While at the beach this past spring, we stopped in Apalachicola, FL at the Boss Oyster Company. Just as good as it was last year was the Japonnaise (their spelling) oysters with ponzu, wasabi and two types of fish roe. I post this only as a reminder that balancing textures of oyster with mildly cruncy (roe), the sweet (roe) with acid (ponzu), adding heat (wasabi) and color contrast that makes this dish work. Of course, this could work with any raw or cooked fish preparation, although with chilled items it takes on a much fresher quality.
The point of this is to think of flavor combinations that work and adapt them to non-conventional preparations. At it’s most basic level, this is the heart of molecular gastronomy and what makes any new restaurant stand out. If you have had food prepared correctly, then it becomes your expectation. What makes it unique from what you can get at home is a novel flavor combination, presentation, accompaniment, or serving style. Does Ruth’s Chris really cook steaks better than Morton’s? They may be different, and both excellent, and I’m sure people will have their preferences, but there’s likely very little variation between two dry-aged ribeyes at either place. If you find yourself in a rut with cooking (which I admit I do from time to time), think of some flavor combinations that you enjoy and apply to them to what you have. And, the only way to have knowledge of how flavors work is to experiment with new cuisines as much as you can. This the basis behind places like Alinea and WD50, where they take it up several notches and not only provide novel combinations of flavor but also mind-blowing techniques to present them.
Of course, don’t tell my kids any of this because they just won’t have it. They only want butter-cheese noodles.