Introduction: Oysters With Spicy Lemon Pearls, Reverse Spherification
Runner Up in the
Food Science Challenge
For this dish I was going for the oyster with pearls idea. I wanted something that would look like a pearl and still pack a punch of flavor. The use of the reverse spherification technique lends itself to this dish as the centers of the pearls stay liquid. The pearl is easily broken when eating the oyster causing the sauce to enhance the oyster. Sauce and oyster go together in one bite. These can be made several hours ahead and kept in cold water until needed.
Step 1: Items You Will Need
1 liter measuring cup
3 mixing bowls
parchment or wax paper
handy but not necessary
Step 2: Alginate Bath
first let's make an alginate bath.
start by placing 1/2liter of distilled water in a large bowl
sprinkle the alginate over the water and let it sit for about 2 min.
stir with the whisk
add the remaining water and whisk again.
place bowl in refrigerator for at least 1 hr.
this part can be done the night before with no ill effects, in fact it helps
alginate takes some time to dissolve so you will have to whisk several times.
as an option you can whip it with an immersion blender to speed things up.
the first picture shows the alginate undissolved, the second is what it should look like when ready.
it will be slightly viscus.
Step 3: Making the Pearl Mix
here we will need
60 ml distilled water
5 grams calcium lactate
400 ml sour cream
20 grams lemon powder( I got this on line through "Chef Rubber")
2 grams hot sauce
10 grams horseradish juice( squeeze the horseradish through a strainer to get just the juice)
start by dissolving the calcium in the water
again wait about 2 min then whisk
add the sour cream, hot sauce, lemon powder, and horseradish juice and whisk well together.
Step 4: Shaping the Pearls
Now it's time to start shaping the pearls.
if you were to just drop them into the alginate they will not make a good sphere.
load the syringe with some of the sour cream mix.
if you do not have a syringe you could load a zip lock bag with the mix and cut a small corner off.
squeeze of the mix onto parchment or wax paper or a non stick mat.
I made mine about 1/4"-3/8" in diameter. think bigger oyster/bigger pearl.
pop the sheet of pearls in to the freezer for approx. 30 min
Step 5: Finishing the Pearls
now the pearls need to gel or as some call it "cook"
remove the alginate bath from the refrigerator.
fill a separate bowl with distilled water. do need to measure it out but enough water so you can rinse the pearls.
remove the pearls from the freezer and peel them off the paper.
drop them into the alginate bath and stir very gently so they do not stick together.
let them sit and "cook" for 2 min.
remove them from the bath with a perforated spoon and drop them into the rinse water bowl.
let them rinse for several minutes.
the pearls will still be frozen in the center so they will they in the rinse water.
When you remove them from the rinse they should have a slight gel skin and be liquid in the center.
Step 6: Finishing the Dish
To finish the dish.
open the oysters and loosen them from their shell
place them on a suitable plate and place one pearl on each.
you could even tuck the pearls into the oyster so they are half hidden such as you would find a real pearl.
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