Carbonated Grape Salad with Crispy Toast, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese and Muscat Gastrique
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Credit: Scott Samuel, Chef-Instructor, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, Calif.
The National Culinary Review, June 2011
8 oz. green seedless California grapes
16 oz. dry Muscat, divided
1 French bread boule or bâtard, small
6 oz. grapeseed oil + more, as needed
1 oz. sugar
3½ oz. champagne vinegar, divided
3 small shallots
3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups assorted salad greens
Small Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, cut into 24 small triangular pieces
Chrysanthemum petals (or other edible flower petals)
1. With small needle, pierce skin of each grape in four places. Refrigerate grapes and 4 oz. Muscat until completely cold. Put grapes and Muscat in soda siphon (iSi or seltzer siphon). Seal top; charge with four CO2 bulbs. Put siphon in refrigerator 3-6 hours to fully charge CO2.
2. Wrap bread in plastic wrap; freeze completely. With automatic slicer or sharp bread knife, cut loaf in at least 24 thin pieces, keeping loaf shape intact. Brush both sides of each slice with grapeseed oil; toast under broiler until crisp. Remove; keep in dry area for service.
3. Combine remaining Muscat and sugar in pan; reduce to syrupy consistency. Add ½ oz. champagne vinegar; continue to reduce until mixture has formed a glaze. Pour into small container; cool completely for service.
4. Peel shallots; thinly slice lengthwise. Put in small bowl; cover with remaining vinegar and small amount of salt. Put in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes, until shallots are bright pink and softened. Combine 6 oz. grapeseed oil and olive oil; with fork, gently blend into vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
5. At service: Release gas from siphon; remove grapes. Cut in half lengthwise; keep cold. Lightly toss salad greens with vinaigrette and shallots. On chilled salad plates, layer salad with cheese, carbonated grape halves and crispy toasts. Drizzle with gastrique; garnish with flower petals.
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