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A Champion for Sustainable Seafood, Without a Doubt: Rick Moonen
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea  Chicago, IL
Chef Grant Achatz
1723 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 867-0110

Kobe Beef, Cucumber, Honeydew, Lime
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Kobe Beef, Cucumber, Honeydew, Lime
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea – Chicago, IL
Adapted by
June 2009
Yield: 8 Servings


Kobe Beef:
1 Kobe beef cap

1 honeydew melon

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise

Soy Gel:
1000 grams soy sauce
16 grams agar

Lime Rocks:
850 grams granulated sugar
75 grams egg whites
10 grams kosher salt
20 grams citric acid
60 grams lime juice
10 drops lime oil

To Assemble and Serve:
Pink peppercorns


For the Kobe Beef:
Remove visible fat from the beef cap. Trim edges to remove thin tapers and produce a uniformly thick piece. Cut in half across the grain so that the grain runs lengthwise. Seal each half in vacuum bag and cook at 138ºF for 30 minutes. Remove the meat from bag and cut into strips ¾-inch strips thick, and 4-inches long.

For the Honeydew:
Cut halves into ¼-inch slices. Cut each slice into 1/4-inch lengths. Cut each length into 1/16-inch squares.
For the Cucumber:
Using a meat slicer or mandoline, thinly slice each half lengthwise into 1/16-inch strips. Trim edges of each slice to remove skin and ensure that each strip is 1-inch wide. Cut short edges on the bias.

For the Soy Gel:
Using an immersion blender, combine agar and 500 grams of the soy sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in another 400 grams of the soy sauce.  Strain mixture through a chinois and chill overnight. Place the soy gel in a blender and blend, adding up to 100 grams additional soy sauce if necessary until gel is creamy and has the consistency of mayonnaise.

For the Lime Rocks:
Combine sugar, egg whites, salt, citric acid, lime juice, and lime oil and whisk until the mixture is pale white. Drop 100 grams of the mixture onto non-stick paper. Cover with nonstick paper and flatten into irregular shapes roughly 5 inches in diameter with rolling pin. Place paper in a food dehydrator set at 120ºF and allow the mixture to dry overnight. Remove paper from dehydrator and allow the mixture to return to room temperature.  Peel away both sheets of nonstick paper and break the shapes into irregular pieces about ½-inch wide. Reserve in an airtight container in a dry place.

To Assemble and Serve:
Sear the Kobe beef strips over high heat on one side until charred. Slice each strip into ¼-inch long pieces and set aside. Arrange about 24 melon slices on a plate, overlapping them like fallen dominoes. Top with the beef slices so that charred edges face outward.  Place the cucumber strip atop beef slices lengthwise. Pipe a bead of soy gel the length of the cucumber strip. Randomly place the peppercorns, micro-cilantro, and lime rocks atop the soy gel, using it to anchor them to the cucumber. 

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