Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A study on Ginger and Saffron

My family recently went to the "molecular" restaurant Beaumé, and one dish there that particularly interested me was the turbot with turmeric cream, chanterelles, and pickled kohlrabi. Beaumé cooked the turbot "sous-vide" and placed it in the bright yellow sauce. The pickled kohlrabi added a nice bright touch to the soft dish.
Beaumé's turbot
Inspired by this dish and by the saffron my family received as a gift, I decided to make a variation on this recipe. I was curious about the combination of ginger and saffron, so I put together a menu using both spices.

The Menu:
  • Cod poached in ginger, kefir lime leaves, and lemongrass
  • Colorful vegetables in dashi and ginger broth
  • Saffron rice pilaf
  • Saffron and Ginger bechamel

The cod and vegetables turned out well. For the vegetables, I found a bundle of heirloom carrots (purple, red, and yellow) to which I added leeks and celery. I boiled some water with dashi granules, ginger, lemon grass, and kefir limes leaves to make a flavored broth for both the vegetables and fish, and I added more ginger to the vegetables as they cooked. 

The carrots

The vegetables
The rice did not go as smoothly. I bloomed the saffron in boiling water to try to get the flavor and color out of it, but the rice did not end up becoming yellow. My mother says that I should have have ground up the saffron with a mortar before blooming it. Well, now I know! And even though the rice was not yellow, it still tasted of saffron.
To make the pilaf, I sautéed some leeks in a tbsp of butter, then added the riced and sautéed it for a couple minutes as well. I made a broth of saffron juice (saffron + boiling water + kefir lime leaf + time) and a cube of vegetable bouillon. Per traditional pilaf method, I added enough broth to cover the rice, brought it to a simmer, and then stirred/added more broth as needed until the rice cooked through.

The Bechamel was tricky. I heated some milk with saffron and ginger to get flavor. In a saucepan I cooked 1 tbsp flour in 1 tbsp melted butter for a couple minutes and then added the milk a little bit at a time, stirring well after each addition, until the sauce was the desired thickness. Because I don't have much experience, my sauce ended up a bit curdled, so I strained it to remove the bits. Like for the rice, the sauce was not yellow because I had not ground the saffron before infusing the milk.

To replace the kohlrabi, I made some pickled ginger (this recipe, it was a bit too salty)

And here is the final plate.

1 comment:

Matthieu Devin said...

I'm so sad that I missed that dinner!

(Good photo, especially like the carrots and the bowl with the cut vegetables)