This dish consists of green and white asparagus and English peas tossed with lemon oil, Lucky Leaf Garden pea tendrils, crisp shiitake mushrooms, rendered pancetta and a soft poached egg.
This was a nice, light course with the warm egg yolk and the lemon oil coming together to create a dressing of sorts for the Spring vegetables. The asparagus and peas were blanched very quickly, giving them great color and enhancing the flavor, but without sacrificing too much of their natural texture.
The shiitake mushrooms were very thinly sliced and fried at 325 degrees for about a minute, until they finished bubbling. They were seasoned with kosher salt as soon as they came out of the fryer and rested on a towel to drain. Fried shiitake mushrooms are a favorite of mine, with a really crunchy texture and deep, earthy flavor.
The soft poached egg was prepared in an immersion circulator at 55 degrees Celcius, then seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.
Pancetta is rolled, salt-cured pork belly; Rendered lardons of pancetta added some extra crunch and a burst of flavor that made the dish very savory and interesting.
This dish, while light and fresh, was very rich with a flavor that many people aren’t familiar with: Umami. Umami is a Japanese term that was coined for meaty, savory flavors, literally meaning “delicious”. Ingredients rich in umami flavor include shellfish, cured meats, many vegetables and aged products such as cheese. A unique property of ingredients rich in the umami flavor is that the taste tends to linger, causing salivation and stimulating the throat. Think fresh, hot bacon on a warm and buttery biscuit. Salivating yet?