From my two previous posts you might know what is going on: Matcha Madness. A contest started by Catty of The Catty Life to help spreading the knowledge about matcha and push its healthiness in our lives.
I decided to work on three recipes to enter in the contest, that is:
- Braised cucumber served with White Jade, served with matcha flavored braising liquid and chives;
- Cod mousseline disk topped with a sprinkle of black nigella seeds and matcha foam served with a matcha flavored dashi broth and wakame seaweed;
- Matcha poached prawns in their broth served with light prawns bisque cubes, egg yolk-citrus emulsion and matcha crisps;
Matcha poached prawns in their broth served with light prawns bisque cubes, egg yolk-citrus emulsion and matcha crisps
Ingredients (make 2 servings):
- 8 prawns, uncooked with shell (if u get them with the heads on too all the better);
- For the court bouillon:
- 1/4 cup Kombu dashi;
- few parsley stalks, chopped up;
- 1 long peppercorn, crushed but not powdered;
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar;
- 1/2 tsp matcha powder.
- 2tsp or so of olive oil;
- 1inch piece of carrot, finely chopped;
- 1/2 medium shallot, finely chopped;
- 1/2 tsp tomato paste;
- Shells of 8 prawns;
- 2 prawns, chopped;
- 1tsp sake;
- Agar agar, as needed.
- 1 egg yolk, frozen and thawed;
- 1/2 tsp orange zest, finely chopped;
- 1/4-1/2 tsp grapefruit zest, finely chopped;
- 1tsp lemon juice;
- Salt and pepper.
- 1tbsp egg white;
- 1tsp wakame soaking water or simple water;
- 1/4tsp matcha;
- 1 tsp flour;
- 1/4 tsp matcha;
Let’s start preparing the crisps, since they can be done ahead of time and kept in a dry sealed container.
For the first crisp, combine the wakame soaking water with the matcha so to avoid lumps, add to it the egg white passed through a fine sieve (this liquefy it making it easier to work in the matcha water).
For the second crisp combine the flour with the matcha in a little bowl adding the water little by little. You are looking for a fairly pourable mixture like milk. Stir a mixture for some time since we need the gluten (read down for the reasons of these two crisps).
Pour the mixtures into two skillets or flat non stick baking container (ceramic plates or vessels with a flat bottom work fine) of around 8’’ in diameters. Place in very low oven to dry for 1h or so. They will be ready when they will peel off easily from the containers.
Prepare now the court bouillon by combining all the ingredients except the matcha powder into a small saucepan. Let the broth simmer covered for 20 minutes or so, then whisk in the matcha and bring back to a simmer. Poach 6 shelled shrimps in the broth for 5minutes, take out of the fire and let the shrimps come to room temperature in the broth.
To prepare the citrus emulsion, pass the thawed egg yolk through a fine mesh sieve so to make it easier to work with. Add the finely chopped zests and the lemon juice to it, mixing well using a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and keep in the fridge covered.
To prepare the bisque, lightly fry the shrimp shells in some olive oil; when they will be all nice and bright orange add the vegetables and sweat them for 5min of medium heat. Add the tomato paste and mix in well. Add now 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining 2 prawns chopped up and let reduce by half simmering it covered.
Blitz now the whole stew till the prawns’ shells will be almost pulverized and using some cheesecloth strain and squeeze the resulting stock back into the saucepan (take care to lightly wash the saucepan so to eliminate all possible chunks of anything in it). Add then the sake and season the bisque with salt and pepper.
Weight the stock and prepare 0.2% of it in agar agar. Combine the two and bring it to a boil whisking all the time. Pour into a mold (I used a little ramekin) lined with cling film. Let the gelatin set at room temperature and then transfer it, covered, into the fridge for further 2h or so.
The shrimps at this point should be at room temperature, fish them out of the broth and set them aside. Filter the broth with a fine cheesecloth or a cotton handkerchief to clear the broth lightly.
When ready to serve, warm the prawns in the stock and unmold the bisque gelatin cutting it into cubes of 1/3inch of side; you will need at least 3 cubes per plate. Place one cube or the side trimming of the gelatin in the center of the plate, top it with 3 prawns and place her 3 squares in between the prawns tails closer to the edge of the plate. Pour in the broth having care not to overflow the cubes. At this you might even warm up the whole plate in a 60deg C oven (agar jellies do not melt back until 90-95deg C). When the dish will be warmed up, pipe some of the egg yolk emulsion over each of the three bisque cubes. Break the crisps into pieces and nest 1 of each kind on top of the prawns. Serve.
You can serve the remaining cubes topped with the citrus emulsion and crisps as side extra garnishes.
So why did I propose you to use two kind of crisps? First to show you to way of creating “glasses” not involving sugar and secondly because of their different texture and behavior.
Apart from sugar, also proteins are able to create brittle thin layers of “glass”. I firstly used this property of egg whites almost two year ago for a recipe I submitted to the "They Go Really Well Together #11" challenge where I created a crispy ginger flavored shell using just egg whites. Naturally also flour has proteins, glutenin and gliadin most noticeably, the same protein that when linked together through water produce gluten. So also a gluten solution can be dried to a glass.
These crisps end up both being, well, crisp but the egg whites one tend to be a bit chewier than the flour one when eaten. Their appearance is also different, the egg crisp develops little bubbles on its surface and it is translucent while the gluten one tends to curl up and be opaque (probably due to the other flour's components). They both deliver in flavor though!
Try them and judge for yourself which is the one you prefer.