Last week I had a cooking class with Richard Blais. I covered most of the class in Cooking With Blais at Begging to Differ. Go read that for information on Iron Chef America and having fun with liquid nitrogen--including the 10-minute ice cream. Spreading the wealth, this post will cover the recipes:
- Grilled Shrimp with Watermelon and Horseradish
- Zucchini Ravioli with Lemon and Basil
- Panna Cotta with Rubarb Jelly
He did hand out menu sheets, but I've also scribbled plenty of notes on them. I'll try to combine them into something that might make sense. For example, Blais listed some herbs, but frequently threw in handfuls of other herbs. These are, for the most part, simple recipes and offer plenty of room for improvisation.
Grilled Shrimp with Watermelon and Horseradish
16 shrimp (21-25), peeled
4 slices of watermelon, maybe 3x3 and up to 1/2 inch thick
2 Avocados, sliced
4 T prepared horseradish
.5 C Sour cream
.5 C Mayonnaise
1 T White truffle oil
1 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro, basil tarragon
Extra virgin olive oil
Lime juice and zest
- Season and marinate the shrimp with salt and pepper, olive oil, basil, tarragon, cilantro. Chill.
- Slice watermelon, de-seed, and lather in olive oil. Season with cilantro, salt and pepper. Set out to room temperature.
- Slice avocado, and splash with lime juice
- Prepare horseradish sauce by mixing: horseradish, sour cream mayonnaise, truffle oil, sugar, salt and pepper
- Grill shrimp until barely transluscent. Shrimp should still be warm when served
- Plate: shrimp and avocado on watermelon, dollop of horseradish sauce, sprinkle with chopped herbs. Alternative is to dice everything and toss and serve as a salad with a dollop of horseradish sauce.
For the horseradish sauce he offered another technique that requires owning some sort of nitrous oxide Whipped cream dispenser. These are easy to come by. Basically, you use it to create a foam out of the sauce. Use it for all sorts of things; Blais likes to use mashed potatoes with it. Pretty much anything can go into it, you just want to strain it first to filter out anything that might clog it. To help give body to the foam, he did add five gelatin sheets. A little harder to find, but link is to Amazon and you get 20 sheets for $7. It's like powdered gelatin, but stronger. Soak it in water until it's like a jelly fish, then pull it out and add to whatever.
Zucchini Ravioli with Lemon and Basil
3 zucchini thinly sliced lengthwise
2 C ricotta cheese
.5 C lemon zest
salt and pepper
White truffle oil to taste
.5 C chopped tarragon
.5 C chopped parsley
.5 C honey
2 T coriander, toasted
- Slice zucchini on mandolin and marinate (lemon juice, grated garlic, salt and pepper, oil. Chill.
- Make cheese mixture (farce): ricotta cheese, basil, salt and pepper, tarragon, lemon zest
- For sauce combine honey, coriander, truffle oil, rosemary, sage, parsley. Heat.
- Grill (or broil) zucchini until pliable. Just a few seconds.
- Wrap zucchini around a spoonful of farce.
- Bake until just warmed through. If you heat too long the cheese will melt and spill out.
- Place the ravioli in the center of the plate and surround with a drizzle of sauce.
He also made a second "quick sauce" not on the recipe handout. The quick sauce is what he calls "bubbles" at the resturant. It's lighter and frothier than foams. Also simple to make and the only odd ingredient is lecithin. If your grocery store doesn't carry it, try a health food store. Here's what I wrote down for the bubbles and as soon as I get some lecithin, I'll give a shot.
- 2 cups stock, herbs, parmesan cheese, garlic. Reduce to 1 cup
- Add 2x milk to stock. I should have gone over these notes right after class. I think that means if you've reduced to 1 cup, then add 2 cups of milk. This will definately need a test spin.
- heat to warm, but do not boil.
- Add a couple tablespoons of lecithin.
- Grate parmesan.
- Hit it with an immersion blender until extremely light and airy. Spoon over food.
Panna Cotta with Rubarb Jelly
500 ml Heavy cream (1.75 cups?)
3 vanilla beans, split and scraped
200 g sugar (a little less than a cup)
4.5 gelatin sheets
800 ml buttermilk (call it 2 cups?)
Kind of a pain he switched to metric here.
- Combine cream, sugar, vanilla beans until boiling.
- Bloom gelatin shets in cool water.
- Melt gelatin sheets in cream mixture.
- Chill, then add buttermilk.
- Pour into serving cups and chill until set.
- For the sauce, he cooked an equal amount of rhubarb and strawberry until syrupy and spooned over cooled panna cotta.