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Calamari in almond tempura Cedar fleur de sel, paella rice mousse

Recipe inspired by Saison Froide – Shiso 2015 beer, created by François Chartier with partner in crime Stéphane Modat (chef at Fairmont Château Frontenac restaurants), from the book Les Recettes de Papilles et Molécules – Taste Buds and Molecules.

Because pine/spruce/juniper-flavoured pinene is among the dominating molecules of saffron’s aromatic structure, we used this compound as an inspiration for this recipe. Pinene is also present in many herbs and spices, including cedar. And if you think cedar, you should also think Saison Froide – Shiso 2015. It is highly reactive to iodine found in fish and crustaceans, distilling its taste. And so if you cook an iodine-tasting seafood like calamari with saffron, or another pinene-rich ingredient, the iodine note will dominate in the recipe’s flavour gene. Finally, to express saffron, we were inspired with paella’s taste gene and transposed it in a sublime paella mousse! This mousse deserves a detour on its own! It could easily be served as tapas on grilled bread croutons.

Ingredients

  • Cedar fleur de sel
    • 1 cedar branch
    • 15 mL (1 tbsp.) natural fleur de sel
    • 5 mL (1 tsp.) cedar powder
  • Paella mousse
    • ½ medium yellow onion
    • 2 fresh garlic seeds
    • 30 mL (2 tbsp.) olive oil
    • 60 mL (¼ cup) round rice
    • 80 mL (1/3 cup) poultry stock
    • 80 mL (1/3 cup) clam juice
    • 1 liter (4 cups) vegetable oil
    • 60 g (½ cup) flour

Directions

  1. Prepare the cedar fleur de sel. Select this year’s shoots from the cedar branch (lighter green colour). Immerse them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to set the chlorophyll and eliminate the external pollutants (pesticides and others). Transfer the shoots to a bowl of icy water to stop the cooking. Dry as much as possible. Lay on a baking platter and place in a preheated oven at 95 °C (200 °F ) for 15 minutes. Keep outside of the oven for a full day to obtain a dry and crisp product. Blend in a coffee grinder to reduce to a powder and mix the necessary quantity with the fleur de sel.
  2. Prepare the paella mousse. In a saucepan, sweat the onion and the minced garlic in olive oil. Add the rice and stir to coat it in oil. Add the poultry stock and the clam juice, bring to boil and add the spices. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and reduce to a smooth puree. Add the cold cream and strain through a cloth strainer to obtain a smooth cream. If need be, adjust the seasoning, and place in a siphon. Charge the siphon with a gas cartridge, shake vigorously and keep in a cold place.
  3. Prepare the fried calamari. Rinse the calamari and place them on paper to absorb excess moisture.
  4. Prepare the tempura according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Heat the oil in a tall saucepan. Coat the calamari evenly with flour; remove excess and place in tempura. Place the calamari one by one in the fryer and fry until the tempura is golden and crispy. Place on an absorbent paper and sprinkle with cedar fleur de sel.

Finishing touches

Place the calamari in a basket lined with absorbent paper. Serve some paella mousse in a ramequin, for dipping. Enjoy.

“Liquids harmonic trails”

It’s interesting to note that pinene is alcohol-soluble, so soluble in beer and wine. In harmony with wine, iodine-tasting seafood will taste even more iodized if the wine has strong pinene aromas. This is generally the case with Riesling, Xeres Fino and Manzanilla-based wines, as well as some strongly mineralized sauvignon blanc wines – aromas echoed by our Saison Froide – Shiso 2015 beer. This is why a Riesling pairs so nicely with oysters or crayfish, particularly when they are very iodized. Setting this wine aside, know that beers like our Saison Froide – Shiso 2015 echoes these sensations. Finally, green sencha teas also share this aromatic line.