There`s a famous restaurant in Chicago called Alinea , it holds the coveted 3 Michelin star status and like all of these world famous restaurants, comes with its own cookery book based upon what the diner eats during their visit to the place.It`s one of those amazing books that seem to carry the same weight as that of a small child, in Alineas case the book weighs a hefty 6 1/2 pounds ( 3 kilos ). Packed with amazing photography and recipes from start to finish its a proper work of art and right at the top of the ladder on the coffee table top ten.
Amazing photos to one side for a moment , the recipes are some of the most challenging ones ive ever come across in a cookery book and definitely not one for an amateur cook at home ( unless you`re as nutty as this American fan ) you really must have a high level of kitchen skills as well as a good contact for actually sourcing the ingredients you`re going to need to cook with to make even the slightest headway into this book.I looked through and picked a pretty simple one to start out with….. Yolk drops – golden droplets of egg with asparagus and Lemon , a posh refinement of Apraragus with Hollendaise really.
There`s 5 parts to this recipe as follows –
I used 2 bunches of Asparagus for the recipe and prepared them by cutting off a couple of inches of the tip end first for my garnish part of the dish.These were blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds then refreshed in iced water to keep their vivid green colour.The rest of the Asparagus was put to one side to be juiced.
The remaining Asparagus was put through a juicer and then strained through muslin.700g of the juice was measured out and 7g of soya lecithin and 3g of salt was added.The mixture was blended with an immersion blender and set aside.
One lemon and an orange were used for the puree , just so it carried a little sweetness.The book tells me to use Meyer lemons but i couldnt get any here in Cumbria so used an orange instead.The lemon and orange were quartered and the core and seeds were removed.I placed them in a blender with 2g salt and 10g of sugar syrup, blended them on high until smooth and then passed through a fine sieve.
This was made by simply whisking together 20g lemon juice , 50g grape seed oil and 5g salt.The asparagus spears were tossed in a little of the vinaigrette to soak up the flavours while the egg drops were cooking.
You`ll need 5 egg yolks whisked together with a good pinch of salt in a bowl for these golden droplets , also a syringe as well.Then take about 300g of clarified butter and heat up to 77 deg C in a pan.Suck up some of the egg mix into the syringe and then squeeze droplets of the egg yolk into the pan and allow to sink to the bottom.
The egg drops begin to rise to the surface after a few seconds.Skim them off and allow to drain on some paper towels.This takes quite a while but the pile of droplets grows larger and larger until theres plenty for a mini feast.
Place all of the egg drops with the Asparagus spears in the vinaigrette then turn gently to coat all over.Transfer to a sieve and allow to drain off.Spoon some of the lemon/orange puree on to a plate.Mound up some of the Asparagus and egg drop mixture alongside the lemon puree.Froth the asparagus lecitin mixture and then spoon the bubbles over the plate as in the photos below. Sit down and enjoy one of the simpler recipes in the Alinea cookbook.