Warm Kaluga Caviar, Buckwheat Koji Butter, Almond Milk

Adapted by StarChefs.com
September 2021

INGREDIENTS:

Preserved Green Almonds:
Green almonds
Salt
Citric acid
Ascorbic acid
Almond Miso:
1.9 kilograms toasted almond meal
1.2 kilograms rice koji
124 grams kosher salt
Walnut Oil:
English walnuts
Almond Milk:
1.2 kilograms Marcona almonds
Salt
Xanthan gum
Almond Miso Consommé
10 grams cane sugar
Maple Rivesaltes Gastrique:
200 grams Rivesaltes wine
100 grams maple syrup
5 grams sugar
Buckwheat Koji:
1 kilogram buckwheat groats, soaked in filtered water for a minimum of 4 hours
1 gram koji spores
Buckwheat Koji Butter:
454 grams 84%-butterfat butter
To Assemble and Serve:
Kaluga caviar

METHOD:

For the Preserved Green Almonds

In a nonreactive container, combine green almonds with 10% salt, 1% citric acid, and 1% ascorbic acid by weight. Seal and let preserve for a minimum of 2 months. Reserve in refrigerator for up to 18 months. 

For the Almond Miso

In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, koji, and 120 grams salt. Wearing gloves, mix by hand to combine. In a separate bowl, combine remaining salt with 100 grams water. Using a whisk, mix until salt has dissolved. Add salt brine to almond mixture, a little bit at a time, until you can squeeze it into a ball. Tightly pack almond mixture into a fermentation vessel. Smooth and level the top, wipe the inside of the vessel clean, and sprinkle the mixture’s surface with salt. Weigh down and cover. Let almond miso ferment at room temperature for 3 to 4 months. Once fermented, transfer to a Vitamix blender. Blend with a bit of water until smooth then pass through a tamis. Pack finished miso in nonreactive, airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for 1 month or freeze for several months.

For the Walnut Oil

Toast walnuts at 310°F for 12 minutes. Coarsely chop walnuts then run through a nut oil press. Reserve.

For the Almond Milk

Add almonds and 1 liter filtered water to a Vitamix blender. Blend until smooth then cover and let sit overnight. The following day, blend again. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve. Squeeze and press the cheesecloth to release all remaining almond milk. Season with salt and thicken with 0.1% xanthan gum.

For the Almond Miso Consommé

Add 390 grams Almond Miso and 2.58 kilograms filtered water to a Vitamix blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a nonreactive container then freeze until needed. Once thawed, strain through a fine mesh sieve. Transfer 250 grams strained Almond Miso Consommé to a pot over medium heat. Add cane sugar and let reduce for up to 12 hours until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup. Remove from heat and reserve.

For the Maple Rivesaltes Gastrique

Add all ingredients to a pot over medium heat. Reduce until it reaches the consistency of honey. Remove from heat and reserve.

For the Buckwheat Koji

Preheat RATIONAL oven to 100% humidity and 212°F. Evenly portion and spread a layer of buckwheat out onto cheesecloth-lined perforated pans. The layer should not be more than 1 inch deep. Steam buckwheat until it’s cooked through but still retains some bite. Remove from oven and let cool to 86°F. Transfer buckwheat to a mixing bowl and toss to break up any lumps. Evenly sprinkle koji spores over buckwheat then toss to combine. On trays lined with damp linens, evenly distribute another thin layer of buckwheat. Cover each tray with more damp linens. Set trays inside an 80°F-incubator, allowing space between trays for adequate airflow. After 24 hours, the smell should become sweeter and earthier. Remoisten the top linens and give the buckwheat a light toss, breaking up any clumps. Reduce incubator temperature to 75°F. Let incubate for another 36 to 48 hours, monitoring regularly. Harvest and store in a nonreactive container. 

For the Buckwheat Koji Butter

Add butter and 454 grams Buckwheat Koji to a pot over low heat. Cook for 8 hours, stirring frequently, until the butter and buckwheat has browned. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.

To Assemble and Serve

In a small, nonreactive container, douse a hefty spoonful of caviar with about 2 teaspoons Buckwheat Koji Butter. Cover container then warm in a steamer at 140°F for 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully spoon the warm caviar and a little bit of Buckwheat Koji Butter onto 1 side of a serving bowl then place ½ teaspoon minced Preserved Green Almonds beside the caviar. Pour 6 milliliters Walnut Oil into the bottom of the bowl then pour 15 milliliters Almond Milk into the Walnut Oil in multiple drops, remaining careful not to create a pool. Season caviar with 3 drops Almond Miso Consommé and 5 drops Maple Rivesaltes Gastrique. Serve immediately.