BERRIES HAVE THE BEST MOUTHFEEL, the way you can feel each one individually in your mouth—like tapioca, or really well-cooked sushi rice. But people have lost some important berry vibe. These days everybody wants them to be sweet. I think they should be sour. That’s what I liked about saskatoons when I first encountered them in Newfoundland, where they call them serviceberries. I also like how the harvest window is so small. They’re not exactly rare. But commercially, you don’t see them that much. The last thing is that they’re really good for you—rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy. —J.C.
What’s the next best thing to dinner at Alo? Alo at home, of course. This stunning caviar service by chef Patrick Kriss is the ultimate way to go about that. Because it’s both exquisitely luxurious – and easy to pull off.
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 Meyer lemons, juice only & strained
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
- 1/2 sheet gelatin, bloomed in cold water
- 130 g (1 oz) tin finest quality caviar
In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and an equal amount of ice-cold water. Transfer lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisk in the cornstarch slurry, adding a little at a time until the mixture thickens. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add the oil, and then the cauliflower. Salt lightly and sweat, with the lid on the pot. Shake pan, and stir as necessary to prevent browning.
After about 5 minutes, when the cauliflower has begun to soften, add about 100 ml (1/3 cup) of cold water, and replace lid. Cook until tender—about 7 minutes more.
Meanwhile, transfer cream to a bowl, whip until it forms stiff peaks, and set aside in the refrigerator. Transfer cauliflower to a blender or the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth wet paste. If too thick, incorporate more water, a little at a time. Transfer the hot cauliflower purée to a bowl, add the bloomed gelatin, and fold mixture with a spatula until the gelatin dissolves. Pass 250 ml (1 cup) of the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Place over a larger bowl half-full of iced water, and fold the mixture until thoroughly chilled. Add the cold whipped cream, and fold together until just homogenous (do not overwork).
To finish, place a quenelle of cauliflower bavarois in each of four small shallow bowls. Place a generous quenelle of caviar alongside, dab the periphery with lemon gel, and serve.
NB: Miniature portions on porcelain spoons make beautiful canapés.