Featuring: Chris Cosentino, Founder & Owner of Boccalone, Executive Chef at Incanto in San Francisco, author of soon-to-be-released book on offal cookery, Co-Star of The Food Network's Chefs vs. City, and contestant on Next Iron Chef and Iron Chef America....
To start the session, Cosentino brainstorms on the confection 'flavor map'.
Cosentino expounds on how much he's into 'bitter'. From Cynar (an artichoke derived digestif) and mustard oil to beautiful wine vinegars, bitter and pungent flavor profiles dominated this session. An exciting contrast from last session's delicate fruit and herbal pairings, Chris's combination's were in-your-face flavor explosions.
We prepped with raisins steeped in zinfandel and port vinegar folded into ganache and two Cynar caramels: one with just Cynar, and one with Cynar & orange.
Chris came prepared with mustard oil (brassica nigra). It is a crucial ingredient in his pork shoulder rub, but this volatile oil must be used sparingly. He coached Theonistas Becky and Nathan and added it to caramel. The oil reacted with the hot caramel, evaporating quickly and bringing tears to their eyes! They finished by garnishing the caramel with mustard seed.
'Agrodolce', an Italian term meaning 'sour + sweet', can incorporate different ingredients. It sounded bizarre, but Chris encouraged us to grab several pine nuts, capers and currants and pop them in our mouths at once. The combo was striking and achieved the agrodolce - we thought we'd hold it together with our brittle (center). Mustard seed caramel (back).
There was nothing bitter about the synergy in the kitchen – Chris wow’d us with his warmth and enthusiasm and we developed an appreciation for the potential of the “bitter” flavor as it interacts with chocolate. Stay tuned!”
The team: Debra, Chris, Becky and Nathan, pleased with the results.
View the full set of photos from our session with Chef Cosentino on Flickr