In her typically meticulous, minimalist style, Ji Kim, the enigmatic blogger behind Luxirare.com, prepares a refreshing oyster and tomato consommé cocktail to kick-start the new year. Seoul-born, New York-based Kim launched her blog in 2008 and has attracted a devoted following for her epic posts that detail the ambitious dishes she creates (foie gras and scallop takoyaki balls topped with caviar, for example). In addition to her gastronomic marvels, Kim hand-makes and sells her own clothes and accessories through the site, such as colorful crocodile handbags and sculptural calf hide jackets. “I want to combine food and fashion, designing items and recipes that can’t be found elsewhere,” explains Kim of Luxirare’s manifesto. “I create for people that already have everything.” Kim began creating her own recipes after researching and attempting to follow those of culinary hero Ferran Adrià. “His creations are so scientific and out of this world, that’s the kind of direction I wanted to take my food too,” she explains. Inspired by the ritual of eating oysters, today’s vodka cocktail integrates separate flavors traditionally used as seasonings for the ocean delicacy: hot sauce, onions and red vinegar, as well as fresh mint and lemon juice, to which Kim applied some basic molecular gastronomy techniques in order to create “caviar pearls” of the flavors. The tomato consommé is inspired by another common oyster condiment, cocktail sauce, and produced by boiling and purifying the tomatoes into a concentrated and precious broth. Below Kim details the surprising simple processes behind this culinary magic.
Oyster and Tomato Consommé Cocktail
For the cocktail:
- 12 small Blue Point oysters
- 2 dozen egg whites
- 4lbs of fresh tomatoes
- 8oz vodka
For the caviar pearls:
- 2 bundles of mint
- Juice of 2 lemons (to add to the mint)
- 2 red onions
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (to add to the red onion)
- ¼ cup hot sauce
- 6g sodium alginate
- 18g calcium chloride
- 36oz water for each water bath
For the garnish:
- 6 mint sprigs for cocktail garnish
- 6 slices of fresh cucumbers
- Gather and shuck 12 Blue Point oysters.
- To prepare the tomato consommé, crack the eggs and separate yolks from whites (the whites are used to pull the impurities from the boiling tomato liquid).
- Boil the fresh tomatoes in water until they are completely soft. Process all the tomatoes until you have a smooth, watery consistency. Filter this through cheesecloth to separate the liquid from the tomato solids. Boil the separated tomato liquid once more. Whisk the egg whites, and place over the boiling tomato liquid. A raft of whites will form where the remaining impurities in the tomato liquid will gather.
- Next, create the pearls of caviar from the red onion and vinegar, lemon and mint, and hot sauce.
- Prepare all of the ingredients and utensils, including the measuring scale, sodium alginate and calcium chloride for the water bath.
- In a food processor, mix the lemon juice and mint with 2g of sodium alginate. Let this sit until all of the bubbles are aired out and then fill the syringe with this liquid extract.
- Mix the water bath by adding 6g of calcium chloride to 36oz of water. Drop the extract into the bath and little bubbles will start to form. Sift these "caviar pearls" out and keep in a cool place until you are ready to serve. Repeat the same process for the hot sauce, and red onion and vinegar mixture.
- Place oysters into 12 shot glasses. Pour vodka, and the tomato consommé into the shots. Top this with thin shavings of cucumbers and the caviar, and garnish with a mint leaf. Serve with extra caviar on the side.
- To keep the cocktails cool, create an ice block with a small indent so that the cocktails can sit on top.