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Carrot Top Crust Technique
Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood – St. Helena, CA

photos and video by Antoinette Bruno

Carrots go three ways in this dish by Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, but what stands out is the simple technique used to turn blended carrot tops into a colorful crust on top of a pavé of steamed fish.

Kostow cleverly uses the firming properties of gelatin and egg whites. The gelatin helps set the thin sheet of puree while it chills. As the fish is steamed with the sheet on top, the gelatin melts while the egg whites harden, leaving the fish with a hard crust.

Step 1: Blend bloomed gelatin with egg whites and carrot tops.
Step 2: Using a rolling pin, roll mixture flat between two sheets of plastic film.
Step 3: Place on a sheet pan in freezer or blast chiller to set.
Step 3: Cut into shapes as needed.
Step 4: Place on protein.
Step 5: Steam protein in a bamboo steamer.

Video Demonstration after the recipe

Steamed Fluke with Carrot Top Crust, Heirloom Carrots, and Ginger
Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood –St. Helena, CA
Adapted by
March 2009
Yield: 1 Serving

Carrot Top Crust:
3 sheets bloomed gelatin
75 grams water
85 grams blanched carrot tops
75 grams egg whites
1 Madai (red seabream) or fluke, portioned into 120 gram pieces

Carrot Espuma:
920 grams carrot, ground
80 grams potato, ground
50 grams ginger, thinly sliced
500 grams carrot juice
Lime juice
Cayenne pepper
2 sheets of gelatin, bloomed

Compressed Pineapple:
1 pineapple

Mixed Heirloom Carrots:
1 bunch thumbelina carrots
1 bunch baby crimson carrots
1 bunch baby yellow carrots
1 large carrot

Ginger Oil:
100 grams brunoise ginger
Extra virgin olive oil

To Assemble and Serve:
Serrano chilies, thinly sliced
Carrot tops
Lime segments, brunoise

For the Carrot Top Crust:
Dissolve gelatin in water. Blend with blanched carrot tops and egg whites. Roll out mixture between two sheets of plastic to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut into squares the same size as the portioned fish.

For the Carrot Espuma:
Place carrot, potato, ginger, and carrot juice in a pot. Cook on high heat until carrots and potatoes are soft. Pass through a chinois. Season with lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Add  two sheets of bloomed gelatin. Place in a whipper and double charge with two cream chargers.

For the Compressed Pineapple:
Peel pineapple and slice into ¼ inch planks. Season with salt and sugar. Place in a cryovac bag and vacuum. Cut into a ¼ inch dice.

For the Mixed Heirloom Carrots:
Using a mandolin, slice baby carrots to 1/16-inch ribbons. Using a slicer, slice carrots to 1/16-inch ribbons. Prepare a large part of salted water and bring to a boil. Blanch the carrots until pliable. Shock in ice water.

For the Ginger Oil:
Place ginger in small pot and cover with oil. Bring oil to 120°F and transfer to a warm area to steep.

To Assemble and Serve:
Remove carrot top crust from plastic and place on fish. Steam slowly for 4 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Arrange the fish, pineapple, heirloom carrots, carrot espuma, and carrot tops; garnish with chilies, mitsuba, and lime; drizzle plate with ginger oil. Serve immediately.

   Video Technique Demonstration

      video length: 3:44

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  Published: March 2009