I am very sceptical of the additives used in so called, modernist cuisine. However since I use baking powder and baking soda all the time, which were once considered new, I do not want to outright reject all “modernist” ingredients. Sodium alginate is actually made from seaweed and I use seaweed often in cooking.
We have decided to do a few experiments for our own culinary growth… Our first attempt yesterday was an adaptation of Ferran Adria’s famous Potato Foam Spherification Gnocchi. Not bad for a first attempt! It was fun and exciting to see the dish come together and to see how these new to us ingredients work. The texture of the gnocchi was very interesting. On the other hand my favorite part of the dish may have been the roasted potato skins we prepared for the broth… This is what we did–
2 cups kombu dashi or other vegetable broth, 450 grams of potatoes, grapeseed oil, 350 grams water (cooking potato water), 5 grams of sodium alginate, 5 grams calcium carbonate, 1000 grams rinsing water, 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, fresh sorrel
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel potatoes with a knife reserving thick potato skins for roasting.
Place potato skins on a sheet tray, season with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper and roast until edges are browned, add to dashi, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Strain broth, discard potato skins (or eat them) and return broth to a pot and set aside.
In a medium pot add potatoes and cooking water and cook until potatoes are soft.
Drain the potatoes reserving 350 grams of cooking liquid. Place warm cooking liquid in a blender, blend on low and slowly add sodium alginate. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes, add potatoes and blend until smooth, approximately 2 additional 2 minutes. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
In a 9″ x 12″ flat bottom dish add 1000 grams of water and calcium carbonate, stir to dissolve.
Slowly discharge potato contents into calcium bath making a long snake shape. Cut immediately with scissors into 3/4 inch gnocchis. Let sit for 2 1/2 minutes until outer casing slightly hardens. Rinse gently and thoroughly in warm water to wash off the bitter calcium bath.
Fill bowls with hot broth and gently top with hot gnocchi. Garnish with sorrel and serve immediately.