Monday, November 16, 2009

Froths (and why the learning curve on it was enough to give me scoliosis of the back)

Diver Scallop Wrapped Guanciale
Morel Mushroom Risotto
Sweet Pea Froth
Port-Truffle Froth (L)
Sweet Pea Froth (R)
Froths, (aka: foams) were a big deal about 4-5 years ago.
Today it's passe to use them as a main selling point of a plate. However, they still serve a great purpose. In contrast to a regular cream sauce, there is no competition. Froths will fit anywhere, on any plate. They lift the presentation, and show skill. Versatility of their use is wide-ranging. I enjoy them best as a finishing garnish.
There are two ways that are reasonable to make a proper froth in the kitchen, one is using a CO2 gun, which I tend to steer away from. They can work well, but the temperature and specific cartridges are too needy. I prefer the handblender method. It's rather simple if you remember some steps.
A) Make a 35% Cream base sauce.
B) Using 2 cups of the sauce, heat the small pot (not a pan) up to high temp. but not close to boiling, just enough to see steam rising.
C) Remove from heat, hit it with 1/4 Cup Skim Milk, a knob of Butter and a pinch of Salt to compensate. It will be hot enough if the Butter begins to melt.
D) Using a handblender, tilt the pot to the side and blend in the Butter/Skim Milk. This will create a froth at the surface which you can spoon onto the plate.
This takes a little practice. There is a lot that can and will go wrong to prevent a great frothing. The sauce can be too hot, too cold, not enough milk, the viscosity is crap... Play with it and learn what the best method is.
-A note, Xanthan Gum is an option when you need to thicken a sauce base. I have used it in the past for Coconut Milk and the like, but generally, if you can avoid using it, it's to your benefit. It requires a very little (1-2gr per 1 Cup base) amount to thicken. If you over thicken with Xanthan, your sauce will become irrepressibly gloppy. Stick with Cream/Skim Milk/Butter to feel better about yourself.
Sweet Pea Froth

Yield: 1lt. Sauce
3 Shallots Rough Chopped
2 Cups Light Chicken Stock
Aromatics (Thyme, Bay Leaf, Peppercorn)
1 lt. 35% Cream
1/2 Bag frozen Sweet Peas
4 Cups Compressed Spinach
Honey, S&P to taste


1) Gently sweat shallots, do not add colour, deglaze with the stock and bring to a simmer (don't use wine as the acid will hinder the colour) until the shallots are broken down.
2) Add the cream and thicken to a sauce consistency.
3) Next add the sweet peas and bring up to temperature.
4) Immediately remove the pot from the stove top and transfer to the food processor. Stuff a fist full of spinach with half the sauce mix per batch (2 Batches total)
5) Strain through a fine chinois into a container held in an ice bath. COOL OFF IMMEDIATELY!!

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