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Richard Blais is on the phone from Atlanta, talking plating. “It’s not that I don’t care how my food looks. I just think that sometimes chefs get caught up in putting plating first — that can go against creating great flavor,” he tells us as he’s getting ready to head out to promote his new book, Try This At Home: Recipes From My Head To Your Plate.

If taste trumps looks in Blais’ book, then one can only imagine the burst of flavors embedded in this single-shell dish, a freshly shucked oyster decorated with frozen pearls of creamy horseradish (note: you’ll need your own canister of liquid nitrogen to try this out at home).

Enriching the bivalve with a component that’s both visually arresting and textural, the Top Chef champ turned successful restaurateur likens the beads to “Dippin’ Dots ice cream, albeit with a piquant kick.” For how he achieves such an effortlessly tasteful presentation, read on.

1. Oyster | Fresh coldwater oyster, opened and with muscle cut from the bottom shell; Blais recommends Hog Island (Pacific Northwest), or Beau Soleil (North Atlantic).

2. Horseradish “Pearls” | “I’m happy to say it’s a very simple process,” writes Blais in his cookbook. It’s also incredibly fun. To make the caviar-like spheres, he blends crème fraîche with prepared horseradish before straining the mixture and transferring it to a squeeze bottle. Gently squeezing small droplets from the bottle into a metal dish over a small amount of liquid nitrogen results in the frozen caviar-like beads.  

3. Thai Red Chile Pepper | Hot, but not that hot, the sliver of thai chili pepper lends a refreshing and slightly fruity note to the one-bite dish.

4. Chile Mignonette | A spicy spin on the conventional mignonette sauce, blended from rice vinegar, turmeric, Sriracha and cilantro.

5. Dill |  Adding the final layer of flavor, the stem-like dill also gives a cool visual component to the presentation.  

From Try This At Home: Recipes From My Head To Your Plate (Clarkson Potter).

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