Ever since I made vegan ricotta, I’ve been a little obsessed with molecular cooking techniques and methods. Because of its formidable ability to transform textures, flavors and shapes, molecular cooking methods have an endless potential to offer to vegan cuisine. This is my first attempt at spherification, using sodium alginate mixed with a carrot-ginger infusion, which was slowly dropped into a calcium chloride solution to form tiny, springy, bright orange caviar. Applied atop some vegan scallops, this is both a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
SCALLOPS WITH CARROT-GINGER CAVIAR
Yield 2-4 servings
- 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- One piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb), peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 -1 cup cold water (for thinning out the juice)
- 2 grams sodium alginate
- 500 grams cold water
- 2.5 grams calcium chloride
- 2 TB Earth Balance
- 1 jumbo-sized king oyster mushroom, sliced and marinated in a bit of vegetable broth for a few hours
- fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
- Place the carrots and ginger into a blender and pulverise well. Add in enough water to make the carrot-ginger mixture equal 300 grams. Blend again, strain out the pulp with a strainer (or you can conversely use a juicer or prepared juice). Measure again, and add a little more water if needed so the liquid equals exactly 250 grams and place in the refrigerator for about an hour so all of the air settles out of the mixture.
- Once the carrot-ginger mixture has settled, slowly whisk in 2 grams of the sodium alginate. Place into a small squeeze bottle.
- Place the 500 grams of water into a wide, shallow bowl. Using a whisk, dissolve in the calcium chloride.
- Using the squeeze bottle, slowly drop the juice into the bowl to form tiny spheres. Once all of the juice has been used, slowly tilt the bowl into a fine mesh strainer, then empty the caviar out onto some paper towels to drain.
- Melt the Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the marinated mushrooms into the skillet and saute for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until a slight char is achieved.
- Top the scallops off with some of the caviar and garnish with fresh fennel fronds, if desired.