A Winter Tidal Pool

Feeds 8


For the Pickled Kelp

115 grams (1/2) unseasoned rice wine

115 grams (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

115 grams (1/2 cup) water

55 grams (1/4 cup) sugar

55 grams (2 ounces) battera kombu, rinsed in cold water and cut crosswise into 3/4 inch wide strips


For the Mushroom Gel

20 Grams (0.7 ounce) dried shiitake mushrooms

200 grams (scant 1 cup) warm water

5 to 10 grams (1 to 2 teaspoons) dark soy sauce (koikuchi shoyu)

Kosher salt

Xanthan gum (0/6 percent of weight of liquid)


For the Oyster Gel

120 grams (1/2 cup) oyster liquid, strained through cheesecloth)

Kosher salt

0.7 gram xanthan gum (0.6 percent of weight of liquid)

Pinch of edible silver flake


For the The Abalone

1 red abalone, 115 grams (4 ounces) 90 millimeters (3 ½ inches) in length


For the Tidal Broth

1 kilogram (4 ¼ cups) soft water (low mineral content, for example, Fiji water)

12 grams (0.5 ounce) dried shiitake mushrooms

15 grams (0.5 ounce) dried large kombu

25 grams (0.9 ounce) thinly shaved bonito flakes (katsuo bushi)

30 to 60 grams (2 to 4 tablespoons) white soy sauce (shiro shoyu)

15 to 20 grams (3 to 4 teaspoons) ponzu


To Serve

1 to 2 sheets gold nori

Grapeseed oil, for frying

80 grams (3 ounces) foie gras, sliced into 10-gram (0.3 ounce) pieces

8 clean sea urchin (uni) tongues

20 New Zealand spinach leaves

20 smaller Malabar spinach leaves

Green scallion tops, sliced very thinly on an extreme bias and soaked in ice water until curled

1 to 2 bunches enoki mushrooms, stems trimmed to 1 inch

1 to 2 whole yuzu or Meyer lemons


Directions for Pickled Kelp

1.     Whisk the vinegars, water, and sugar together, bring to a boil and boil until the sugar dissolves. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Submerge the kombu in the pickling liquid, cover, and steep over night in the refrigerator. The pickled kombu can be made ahead of time and will keep for months.


Directions for Mushroom Gel

1.     Soak the mushrooms in the water for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Strain the mixture, reserving the mushrooms for another use, and season the liquid assertively with soy sauce and salt. Weigh the seasoned liquid and then transfer to a blender. Weigh out xanthan equaling 0.6 percent of the liquid weight (for example. For 100 grams of liquid, use 0.6 gram of xanthan). While blending on the lowest speed, gradually shear in (see page 311) the xanthan. Continue blending until the mixture thickens, 5 to 6 minutes, and then strain the gel into a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum at 100 percent, without sealing, 5 to 6 ties to remove air bubbles introduced during blending. The gel will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Directions for Oyster Gel

1.     Season the oyster liquid to taste with salt and transfer to a blender. While blending on the lowest speed, gradually shear in (see page 311) the xanthan and add the silver flake. Continue blending until the mixture thickens. Transfer the mixture to a vacuum seal bag without straining, and vacuum at 100 percent 5 to 6 times to remove air bubbles. The gel will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.


Directions for Abalone

1.     Remove the abalone from its shell and, with kitchen shears, remove the viscera. Rinse thoroughly in the luke-warm water to relax the meat. Place the abalone between 2 kitchen towels with the foot side up and pound forcefully with a meat pounder or heavy pan until the foot flattens. (Typically this takes 2 good blows.) Allow it to rest in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.


Directions for Tidal Broth

1.     Combine the water, mushrooms, and kombu in a large pan, cover, heat to 140 degrees and steep for 1 hour. Remove and discard the kombu. Heat the mushrooms and broth to 175 degrees. Add the bonito flakes, stir for 15 seconds.


To Serve

1.     Drain 2 pieces of Pickled Kely per serving. Warm the Tidal Broth almost to a summer, so that bubbles form on the bottom of the pan. Toast the nori by waving it over low heat until it crisps and turns a lighter shade of green. Tear the toasted nori into 1-inch pieces. Slice the raw abalone crosswise, as thinly as possible, cutting a few slices for each serving. Quickly stir-fry the abalone with grapeseed oil in a hot pan.

2.     For each serving, place a slice of foie gras in a heater bowl topped with a sea urchin tongue, pickled kely, and a few slices of abalone. Garnish with a few spinach leaves, curled scallions, 8 to 10 mushrooms, and 5 to 6 pieces of nori. Immediately before serving, add 90 grams (6 tablespoons) of warm Tidal Broth to each bowl. Float several pools each of Mushroom Gel and Oyster Gel on top of the broth. With a Microplane  grater, zest yuzu over the entire bowl.

David KinchMind of a Chef