Food is a process

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Osetra Caviar

All right! I'm finally contributing to Luigi's beautiful blog. I'll take a moment to discuss the making and eating of the Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Osetra Caviar.

First of all, the caviar. None of us had ever had real caviar before so this was an interesting treat for all of us. The recipe called for beluga, but as that was unavailable we settled for Osetra. I have no idea what impact this had on our experience. At $50 an ounce this was one of the most financially indulgent dishes on the menu. I was afraid that as good as it might be, it would be all too similar to the excellent $12 roe at Trader Joe's. Was it salty? Yes, I suppose it was. But it was so many other things. I'm not going to go on and on about it but it was incredibly intense and complex. It had a certain tang that was really interesting. I'm even tempted to say fruity in a way, though others may disagree.

The panna cotta was incredibly simple to make. First I simmered sliced cauliflower. When the water had mostly evaporated I added heavy whipping cream and continued simmering for ten minutes. It then went into the blender and then through a chinois. I then added gelatin (in the form of sheets) and poured it into ramekins to set. The panna cotta was topped with an oyster glaze which was also very simple. Two oysters and their juices were put into a small bowl along with a bit of water and allowed to sit overnight. The next day the oysters were discarded and the liquid was strained. I then added gelatin and fresh pepper and allowed it to set in the fridge, stirring occasionally. I then spooned it on to the panna cotta and swirled it around to great a beautiful shiny surface.

These two recipes get me thinking about other possibilities. The panna cotta could be made with most any vegetable or even fruit. The glaze could be made with anything that imparts flavor from soaking in water. Or for that matter you could just add gelatin to any liquid. Gelatin is fun. I'd like to play around with it some more.

The finished dish was beautiful. The panna cotta was incredibly subtle and as you can imagine very creamy. It was the perfect bed for the intense caviar. I had left over panna cotta and had it the next day. I have to say that without the caviar it wasn't that worthwhile. The flavor was so delicate and it didn't seem worth eating all that cream to me on it's own. Hopefully we can get a picture up soon. If you have one Luigi, feel free.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger accordion-3B2DD4, at 2:10 AM  

  • i find that the cauliflower panna cotta works very well with seared diver caught scallops and a rocket salad dressed with a little reduced balsamic vinegar sweetened up with suger and red wine

    By Blogger liam haddow, at 8:33 AM  

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