A full dish seemed too much, for a component so pretentious as mussel air, but I thought it would pair well with scallop. The sweet, clean scallop flavor with just an ethereal hit of the sea. So I built a dish from there. If you throw some high-falutin component like mussel air on your dish, you have to back it up. So I went through a flavor bouncing exercise, pairing each component with the next so that, in theory anyway, they'd all play well together on the plate.
Sweet clean butternut puree, offset by a second puree of caramelized carrots - still sweet, but a deeper and earthier flavor. A bitter note from a burnt scallion, with a dash of champagne vinegar to liven it up. Cured orange peel, to brighten the other flavors and carry just a slight citrus flavor. Tarragon and basil flowers to for a anise note and floral nose. I was going to pair with a thin slice of porkbelly, but that seemed like it could overwhelm the other flavors, so I settled for a chip of crispy pancetta to deliver some saltiness and texture. On top of the scallop, a dab of coffee butter, because I love how it marries with the scallop flavor and enhances the richness. And finally, serve it in a billow of smoke, fleeting, not overpowering.
|Original Plating Sketch....coffee stained|
I had to think about how to capture the smoke. I didn't want to enclose the dish with the smoke for any length of time, so I thought about a Roca dish where the smoke is below the dish with just wisps being released at a time. I didn't have the serviceware to pull that off, but a mason jar seemed suitable, if not quite living up to the extravagance promised by the mussel air. I punched three small holes in the lid to let the smoke slowly wisp out from below.
|Plated Over Smoke|
And the mussel air was delicious.
|Adding the mussel air|
|Scallop. 10 Accoutrements|
|Scallop. 10 Accoutrements (alternate view)|