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Soy Lechitin Application?

A couple of years ago, I had a dish prepared by Chef John Shields that I will remember for the rest of my life. The ingredients were diced squid, olive oil, salt, the squid's natural juices, and an emulisifier. The resulting dish looked like risotto and was fabulous. Any ideas on the emulsifier and technique?

asked by Tony S about 2 years ago
8 answers 905 views
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added about 2 years ago

A picture of the dish

Risotto

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added about 2 years ago

Define natural juices? Did he use the squid's ink? Was the dish black in color? Did the dish have a rice component (I know you said looked like risotto but I am not sure on this point)?

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added about 2 years ago

Natural juices were the liquid emitted while the squid cooked, not ink. Take a look at the picture of the dish I posted. The was no rice, the only solid pieces in the dish were small diced squid.

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added about 2 years ago

Natural juices were the liquid emitted while the squid cooked, not ink. Take a look at the picture of the dish I posted. The was no rice, the only solid pieces in the dish were small diced squid.

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added about 2 years ago

Lecithin either from soy or sunflower are primarily used in making foams. From the description of the 'risotto' dish, there was no foam so it probably wasn't used. Was the diced squid the 'rice' of the dish. Technically risotto is a technique of cooking though 95% of the time it assumed to be an arborio rice dish. Lots I chef have been using different vegetables recently to replicate the same results... I've never seen io with a protein, but I that is the case, very innovative and please share the recipe with me!

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added about 2 years ago

FutureChef- the squid was the 'rice' in the dish. I would love to attempt to recreate at home but cannot think of an appropriate emulsifier to use. Btw, if you are into molecular gastronomy, John Shields is worth looking up. When I ate his food, he was running a restaurant in Chilhowie, VA called Town House- one of the best meals of my life.

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added about 2 years ago

I did some goggle/bing-ing and looked Shields up... I'm surprised I hadn't heard of him because I was born and semi-raised in that region. I hadn't heard of his Townhouse in Virginia either only David Burke's Townhouse in Chicago. By the way, if you're in the Chesapeak region, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this place called Grace's Garden in Annapolis. It's this complete hole-in-the-wall place complete with checkered picnic tablecloths but it's food is amazing...nothing in the molecular gastronomy region but just extremely authentic, delcious Chinese cuisine. Check out Chris Ford in Baltimore too at Wit & Wisdom. His stuff is more avant-garde in terms of presentation and modernist-cuisine but rooted in purely in flavor (he staged under Michael Laskonis from Le Bernadin and Chikalicious so if that's indicative of anything, it's perfection). He has a blog too which I constantly salivate over, Butter, Love, & Hard Work.
So I've been trying to picture this dish and how I would execute it. I would think you would get your squid into risotto size pieces (or a little larger since they might render slightly in cooking) and then reserve your scraps to make a sort of stock which you would reserve for your squid 'risotto'. Take your scraps and do a slight quick sautee on them just to get a little bit of a sear to bring out some of those wonderfully carcinogenic Maillard-redox notes (this may not be how it was done but I didn't have the dish so I'll have to defer to you in terms of what sort of texture it had) and then just slowly adding some of the squid juice stock in two or maybe three additions--defintely want to avoid rubberiness obviously. But then, you're throwing in the emulsifier as an ingredient which has me a little bit puzzled. Inherently, with an emulsion, you are thickening something. In this case, it would be the EVOO thickening the stock. You might only be reaching a viscosity of say a vinaigrette as opposed to an aioli, but somehow, one way or another, they're thicker. Obviously, with a risotto, you don't thick of rice with some sort of thick sauce so I'm guessing that it's simply that the squid was cooked with the 'risotto' method in a vinaigrette-like squid stock-oil emulsion. Generally, with a vinaigrette, there's no need for an emulsifier if it's done properly or unless the oil:water ratio is just that high because then the emulsifier is there to act as a stabilizer. In terms of what emuslifier to use for that purpose, lecithin would work; I use it to stabilize my nut milks for storage in the fridge so that the water and nuts' fat do not separate. Honestly, I'm just sort of at a loss as to why an emulsifier is in this recipe. Perhaps they just sort of kept the emulsion on their line at the restaurant and needed it to be stable on the line for service. The only other thing I can think of is instead of making a stock and then adding an emulsified stock to the squid that they are just rendering the squid in the pan with oil and they have to use an emulsifier so that the oil emuslifies into those juices... still it doesn't seem to add up to me. One other thing has occurred to me. I don't know who told you the ingredient list, but if it was just a server or some other renegade member of the FOH staff, she/he might not have been right about the 'emulsifier' part. Also, emulsifier is a much more guest-friendly word than transglutaminase which may be what the chef actually used. It's used to bing proteins together. Wylie Dusfresne does this incredible lamb 'flank stank' where he binds ground lamb into this amazing steak. Richard Blais did a gourmet lollipop (like lamb lollipop) but with really good Kobe beef I believe. It can also be used to make fish noodles or what I'm thinking in this case, fish risotto. Willpowder is where I buy all my fun stuff. Of course. you can always use Adria's line.

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added about 2 years ago

One other thing, they could have made an emulsion to make a poaching liquid and used an emulsifier to stabilize it. That might produce the desired results.