Sometimes a photo of a food item is enough to inspire me to post to this blog. Such is the case with this picture of Kumamoto oysters with Foamed Mignonette. It was snapped a couple weeks ago just after Chef Chris Young, coauthor of Modernist Cuisine with Nathan Myhrvold, finished preparing them. The mignonette foam is stabilized into a “dry foam” with 1.25% of de-oiled soy lecithin powder, an emulsifying agent and byproduct of soybean oil production. Young describes this as a dry foam since the water within the foam is drained away once it’s stable. Lecithin stabilized foams are not new; Ferran Adria started making them more than a decade ago. Some consider foams passé. However, it’s always fun to play with both new and old ideas in the kitchen just to see what happens. Sometimes accidental innovation occurs.
The ingredients used are fairly neutral in color (shallots, white balsamic, water, sherry vinegar) creating a beige foam and, ultimately, a monochromatic dish. Color aside, the foam has an intense vinegar, salt and shallot flavor that is carried throughout the foam creating a deep contrast to the meaty, sweet and slightly musty taste of the oysters. The foam adds a texture and tingle that dissipates almost instantly when the oyster is slurped. I love the look of these oysters and hope you do too.