One day, I sampled an oyster leaf with Graeme Ritchie, my sous chef and right-hand man. Struck by its amazing oyster ﬂavor, we decided to pair it with salsify (a.k.a. “oyster plant”) to re-create the experience of eating its aquatic namesake. When you bite into this mock oyster, it releases a rich, creamy ﬂavor that is perfectly balanced by malt vinegar powder. It takes the taste and texture of a classic — raw oysters with mignonette — and transforms it into something new.
- 1 1/2 cups salsify, peeled and diced
- 1 1/3 cups, plus 4 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 grams gluco
- 0 grams xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons algin
- 6 oyster leaves
- 6 oyster blossoms
- malt vinegar powder
- black Cyprus sea salt
- In the pressure cooker, combine the salsify, the 1 1/3 cups water, and the salt. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, lock the lid in place, bring up to high pressure, and cook for 5 minutes. Let the pressure dissipate naturally, then uncover the pot.
- Prepare an ice bath. Strain the contents of the pressure cooker through a ﬁne-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Set the bowl over the ice bath and stir the liquid occasionally until completely cooled, about 10 minutes.
- Measure out 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of salsify cooking liquid; reserve the rest for storing the mock oysters. Put the measured liquid into a tall, narrow container and add the milk, gluco, and xanthan gum. Using an immersion blender, blend for a full 5 seconds to dissolve the gluco and xanthan gum.
- Transfer the salsify milk to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours so any air bubbles will dissipate.
- In the blender, combine the algin and the remaining 4 1/2 cups of water and blend for a full 10 seconds to dissolve the algin completely.
- Transfer the algin mixture to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours before using.
- Have ready the algin bath, a cold water bath, and the reserved salsify cooking liquid. Using a teaspoon-sized measuring spoon, drop individual portions of the salsify milk into the algin bath. It should drop to the bottom of the bath and then form a sphere. Leave each spoonful undisturbed for at least 1 minute to set.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sphere to the cold water bath to rinse. Then transfer the sphere to the container with the reserved cooking liquid. Repeat 5 times for a total of 6 mock oysters. Cover the container holding the oysters and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, put each mock oyster in an individual serving spoon and garnish with an oyster leaf and oyster blossom. Season lightly with malt vinegar powder and black sea salt and serve right away.