mayonnaise

Tomatoes and Burnt Bread

Brioche bread, tomatoes, green onion and fire

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Both Melissa and I appreciate any opportunity to set fire to things… maybe a little too much! This recipe looked deceivingly simple, but alas, it took us a few days to get through. The idea behind the recipe is simple… burn some bread, slice some tomatoes, and make some scallion oil and mayonnaise to dress the plate with. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that:

  • You are burning brioche that you make from scratch (which takes ~24 hours)
  • Making scallion oil takes 24 hours (including resting time in the fridge)

Perhaps with some better planning, we could have gotten through these recipes in a couple of days… Next time!

We started by combining the ingredients for the brioche (flour, eggs, salt, yeast) in a stand mixer as it seemed like the most time-intensive activity.

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After dough had some time to combine, we added butter and beat the dough with the dough hook attachment to the stand mixer until it was silky and smooth.

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At this point, the dough rested in the fridge overnight. The following day, we separated the dough into sections and rolled them into balls.

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We then placed the dough in a preheated oven to proof for 3 hours.

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Upon removal from the oven, we applied a glaze of egg yolk to each bun and cut an X mark on the top. This process was a little stressful because we noticed the buns collapsing–as a result, not all the buns got a perfect X mark.

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When we removed them from the oven, the buns were golden and had a beautiful glossy finish.

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With the brioche completed, we chopped up the green part of some scallions as the first step in preparing the scallion oil.

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After a quick blanch for 30 seconds in boiling water, the scallions were combined with oil and the mixture pulsed until there weren’t many large pieces left.

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The resulting mixture was placed in the fridge to infuse overnight. The following day, we ran the mixture through a conical strainer and set the bowl aside to start plating.

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I think the fiery part of any recipe is our favourite… there’s a little (I really mean a lot) of danger involved in letting either one of us hold a torch. We may have burned some holes in the foil we were using to line the baking pan, but the silver lining here is that we used a baking pan under the foil.

We tried to burn each of the brioche pieces as lightly as possible . After a certain amount of time though, Melissa threw caution to the wind and really burned some bread with a truly pyromaniacal look in her eyes.

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We cut the brioche into several shapes with the intention of trying different plating techniques. This later turned into a plating competition, so feel free to vote for your favourite at the end of this post!

Plating Style #1

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Plating Style #2

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This deceivingly simple combination of flavours was amazing. The burnt flavour of the bread combined with a hint of tang from the scallion oil and green tomatoes created a very complex and appealing flavor. We added some Maldon salt which added another dimension to the dish. There’s no question that we would make this again, but maybe next time we will plan a little better and combine the preparation of elements that require similar time frames. The complexity of the elements means that this recipe probably isn’t going to be something you’d prepare for a dinner party, but maybe for a small gathering of friends or family.

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Daikon Rolls with Marinated Salmon

Three varieties of radish, cured salmon, avocado and pickled vegetables.

Final Presentation (1 of 1)

We chose to make this dish because it looked challenging to plate. Three little sushi-type rolls stuffed with salmon and radish standing on a plate–that should be a challenge.

This dish started with a trip to the farmers market looking for Daikon radish. After speaking with a few vendors, we ascertained that finding Daikon radish at our farmer’s market seemed unlikely as it is not in season. Just in case we couldn’t find any Daikon radishes, we picked up these interesting-looking local black radishes.

Black Radish (1 of 1)

Imagine a black wrapped roll with salmon and vegetables; the contrast of black radish, pink salmon and green onion would have made a beautiful dish. Wishful thinking…

We ended up finding the elusive Daikon radish at an international food market (for other radish hunters, also known as “white radish”). We also picked up a small kohlrabi to give us some options when building the dish.

We brought everything home, set-up the camera equipment and got started. Surprisingly, this dish did not need much actual cooking–the main focus for us was to carefully plate the finished product with as much elegance as possible.

The first steps involved curing the salmon with a salt and sugar mix and making a quick pickling liquid for the julienned Daikon radish and carrots.

Pickles (1 of 1)

We also prepared an avocado purée, and lemon mayonnaise. With all the components prepared and assembled, we started peeled the radishes and kohlrabi. We started peeling the black radish only to find disappointment inside. The black radish was actually white on the inside… who knew! We thinly sliced these with a mandolin.

Radish Slice (1 of 1)

To compare, here are the other slices of radish/kohlrabi.

Daikon Slice (1 of 1)

Daikon radish

Kohlrabi Slice (1 of 1)

Kohlrabi (Actually not a radish at all, it’s from the cabbage family)

Assembling the rolls was much like making sushi. The biggest challenge we faced was placing just the right amount of the components inside that would still allow for them to be rolled up tightly. Also, we had a little trouble shaping the rolls that used kohlrabi or black radish so that they would stand up on a plate. Of the three types of wraps, the Daikon radish was by far the easiest to stand due to its perfect rectangular shape–the black radish’s circular shape was difficult to seal to keep the salmon from falling out and the kohlrabi when sliced thinly (in addition to also having a ridiculous oblong shape) had a number of holes which leaked avocado purée and lemon mayonnaise.  It wasn’t easy and it took some practice. The assembling went something along these lines:

  1. Obtain radish/kohlrabi slice
  2. Add avocado purée, lemon mayonnaise and Dijon mustard
  3. Add pickled vegetables and thin strips of green onion
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds
  5. Roll and stand up on a plate
  6. Roll broke open or tipped over
  7. Eat it!
  8. Repeat

I have to say that it was the most delicious trial and error process I’ve ever experienced!

Eating Daikon Roll (1 of 1)

The radish wrap is fresher and more crunchy than a typical seaweed sushi wrap, and the cured salmon, avocado purée, lemon mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and pickled vegetables was the perfect contrast of textures and flavours!

Plated Dish Table (1 of 1)