Posted by Nils Norén
I have quite a few flavor combinations that I like. Some not so obvious: red beets and coconut. Some more common: apples and curry. I am always trying to find different ways to get my favorite flavor combinations into a dish. The combination of flavors can taste very different depending on which state the product is in. Cooked apples taste different from raw apples, and clearly the texture is very different.
When I was thinking about the dish I wanted to make for Taste of the Nation event tonight, I decided I wanted to go with apple and curry, but I did not want to serve a cooked apple. So I thought the best way to go about it would be to use a technique that we use quite often, vacuum infusion/flash pickling. We have made plenty of products this way, such as martini cucumbers and pickled onions.
Since curry is not soluble in water, we use curry oil instead. Grape seed oil is slowly heated with curry powder. The apples are sliced thinly and placed in water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning. The apple slices are dried and placed in a container with the curry oil. That container gets covered with plastic wrap poked with a few holes, and then goes into the vacuum machine. We suck a full vacuum and when it reaches a full vacuum plus 25 seconds, we turn the machine off. We let it sit for about 20 minutes to get all the air out of the apples. Then turn the machine back on to infuse the apple with the oil. What is so great about this technique is that the apple doesn’t taste greasy. It becomes almost like edible vinaigrette.
The dish that I’m using the curried apples for is Smoked Trout with Morel-Cauliflower Puree, Trout Roe, and Brioche Croutons.