Dish of the Day: Recipe for Crudo from The Lab
So far so unremarkable, you might think. But the Lab is different, not like normal cookery demos – what’s on show here is Avant-garde techniques and some seriously accomplished chefs.
It was quite nerve-wracking all told. Talking to 100 people is scary enough, but cooking at the same time is doubly so. I was demonstrating crudo, the Italian preparation of raw fish, and how the basic elements can be tweaked to create all kinds of different and wonderful dishes – and using only protein, oil, salt and acid.
Lab is a pretty unique set-up. There are so many different rooms and stages with demonstrations traversing everything from creative cocktails, through molecular food experiments to some damn good traditional cooking.
On Thursday we had of James Knappet (of Bubbledogs, the hot dog and champagne joint), the guys from mission Chinese, the boys from Noma (best restaurant in the 50 best list), Bruno Loubet and some amazing drinks people too.
So what went on? Well it all comes down to flavour experiments. That doesn’t necessarily mean going all Heston, but more understanding what flavours go well together and why, which can be shortened to getting an insight into how other chefs’ minds works.
We’re very simple souls, but our palettes are refined and often looking for a crunch, or a bite, a kick or some acidity to finish a dish, to make it complete. I think it is that understanding – why a dish needs some pickles, or some sweetness or crunch – which allows you to find your own style. I guess that’s what The Lab is all about. You don’t, of course, have to be a chef to be a good cook – but what you need is to understand how to combine certain ingredients, flavours, texture.
That’s exactly what I tried to demonstrate with the crudo. The dishes were very simple – using the fundamental components of any balanced raw dish. One of the biggest hitter was raw tuna.
My recipe for Crudo:
It’s pretty simple.
Take some raw tuna and slice it nice and thin.
Soak some watermelon is stock syrup and chilli
Then cut the melon into tiny cubs and put on top of the tuna (crunch, heat and some sweetness)
No add a blob of balsamic reduction (acidity) and a basil leaf (fresh, summery flavour to go with the melon – think Pimms…)
Slice the raw scallop thinly.
Lay each slice over a small baton of apple (crunch, slight acidity) and then accentuate the acidity with a squeeze of lime
Add some chopped truffle (earthiness) and a slice of jalapeño (heat) and there you have it.
As long as you always have protein, oil, acid and salt, and optionally have heat, herb, sweetness, you can’t go wrong.
Just remember one thing, don’t lose the taste of the fish!food, The Lab
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