Rebuilding old favourites
Where do you find inspiration? Deconstruction is one way to innovate. Think of a favourite recipe, break it into its constituent ingredients and critical cooking steps, and recombine... and you have a new, inspired, creation.
Wanting to reinvent your menu. Seeking inspiration for your new signature dish.
A place i saw inspired re-invention was at Singapore's Tippling Club, where they have reinvented a Pear Tart-tatin.
Here's the typical Pear tart tatin- cook pears, put pastry over the top, bake serve with cream/ice cream- brilliant desset;
This is the Tippling Clubs version;
All the constituents parts are there- pear, sweet short crust pastry, caramel, cream/sorbet. Also all the constiutent temperatures and flavours and textures- hot and cold, pear, caramel, cream, crisp, crunchy, soft, melting. The techniques are there- baking, chilling, sauteeing... But they are attached to different ingredients and recombined in an innovative and ultimately satisfying way.
Rather than a purely molecular gastronomy approach, any restaurant or chef can consider reconstructing their old favourites in new ways as an alternate method of adding some interest to menus. Take a dish apart to find out what's in it so you can make your own without knowing anything about how the original was made
De-constructed Caesar salad- all the parts served separately ready for the diner to reconstruct. This is the simplest approach and can add interest to a diners experience. What about doing the same for Char Kway Teow, or Pad Thai- serve each element separately and then get the diner to construct... maybe served with a very hot stone bowl to use the vessel for the final "char" on the noodles and meats?
How about reconstructing a Caesar Salad as a Asian wrap- using the cos lettuce as a vehicle for wrapping all the other tastes into a bundle? Similar to the Vietnamese lettuce wraps?
To get the other tastes, perhaps roast the garlic in some olice oil and leave whole so you can squeeze the garlic into the wrap. Create a fresh mayonnaise with Dijon mustard, anchovy, salt pepper, a squeeze of lemon, then yolk from a freshly coddled egg (sit in boiled water for 1 minute) mix in your food processor and add some neutral oil until thick, with the coddled egg yolk it will be thicker than a normal mayonnaise, serve from anchovy fillet, then fry some French bread cubes in some duck fat or bacon fat until crispy. Take a wedge of parmesan and cut curles with a vegetable peeler. Serve on a long plate and invite gests to reconstruct the salad using the lettuce as a wrap.
Deconstructed coq au vin-
Simply break the dish into its constituent parts. Braise some shallots in wine and oil/stock for an hour until cooked. Prepare chicken wing-let like a small leg cutting the tendons to ensure the meat gathers at one end, and roast with herbes de provence, fry shitake with chopped shallot, garlic thyme and when cooked add some madeira then blend in food processor as a pate, serve in separate small dishes with a small glass of red wine.
Deconstructed california handrolls.
Build all the ingredients into an endive leaf, replacing the nori as a base.
Decconstruct some of your favourite cocktails too;
Here's a deconstructed Bloody mary...
Deconstruct a Bloody Mary by pouring vodka over crushed ice. Add a shooter of lightly spiced fresh cherry tomato purée or your favorite tomato juice, and a lemon slice. Offer the spice mix either in a shaker, or on the lip of the glass as you would a Margarita!