Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2005
Chef uses CO2 to create 'foamy' texture
Now this frothy idea has local superstar chef Hiroshi Fukui rabid about bringing it to Oahu.
"I've been playing a lot with foam these days," laughed Fukui, whose Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas in Restaurant Row opened to rave reviews late last year. "You use a nine-inch-tall stainless steel canister like the kind you see behind a counter at Starbucks to house the ingredients and then shoot it with CO2 (carbon dioxide)."
The result is nothing but airy, fluffy and light, according to Fukui.
Conceding that he's still in the trial-and-error process, Fukui, nonetheless, has had successes playing with this foamy technique and he'll feature some of the new airy recipes tomorrow night during his special Valentine's Day prix-fixe menu.
The appetizer, for example, will be pan-seared shrimp topped with a roasted garlic aioli "foam."
"It's different, that's for sure," Fukui said. "The mayonnaise for the ailoi won't be as dense as usual because of the CO2. But, it will still maintain that rich flavor."
Another foamy dish features the "Dip & Eat" Caesar salad, Kula baby romaine lettuce tossed in an anchovy "foam."
"It's a latte with anchovy," Fukui joked. "I don't think coffee drinkers would go for it. But, it does work as a dressing."
For the evening's soup, Fukui uses a pie crust to encrust the classic "Tom Yam Koong" Thai soup, which is infused with lemongrass and galangal (a member of the ginger family and an essential ingredient in Thai cuisine).
Cost for this Valentine's Day set dinner menu ranges from $49 to $56, depending on entree selection.
Couples can choose from among such entrees as a half-seared hamachi from Japan ($53), which is topped with a foam of salsify (an edible root that's also known as oyster plant or vegetable oyster); brie-cheese-and-prosciutto-stuffed pork tonkatsu, accompanied by roasted-garlic brown butter and katsu "jam" sauce ($49); seared sea scallops served with Kahuku-corn-and-bacon pasta ($58); and "Steak & Eggs," featuring a pan-roasted rib-eye steak covered in a ponzu demi sauce ($56).
Dessert will feature a duo of chocolate "Ooze" with vanilla ice cream and yuzu panna cotta with a berry gelee.
"It (dessert) is going to be a trio, so it's also going to include a sorbet," Fukui said, joking that he's probably going to run out of canisters, which will prevent him from doing a special foamy topping.
And a can of Whip Cream just won't do ... not for this perfectionist chef, anyway.