I am sitting in a crowded restaurant surrounded by unfamiliar faces in a strange neighborhood on the out skirts of a big city. I am eating a new cuisine feeling oddly sentimental and comfortably 8 years old again. A shrimp appetizer (described as
a noodle on the menu) provides a dish that revives the chubby little boy belonging to a penniless family living largely on Ramen noodles from my youth, I am instantly overcome with a sense of humbled pride. I was practically raised on the dehydrated noodles and bouillon pouches with the shrimp flavored packages always being my personal crème de la crème
The enthusiastic slurp of the faux pasta and the firm bite of each noodle tasting of the exotic crustacean from which it was made. Enticing the young chef inside of me I decide to ask the waiter how this pasta was made. The naive gives me a blotchy answer with the words sodium alginate and water bath, It was all I needed to completely understand.
The reality is that this shrimp pasta, is anything but a true pasta. It is a rousing chemical reaction between two compounds, caused during the preparations of the dish and the execution of a fresh technique. This was an interesting take on the reaction of Sodium Alginate in the presence of Calcium compounds, much like the preparations in my Colossal Pea Post. In fact, it is the same process, same performance, same Idea only a few tweaks in the mainframe to produce a different outcome.
To create a truly notable Shrimp Pasta, you have to establish the quality of the dish, in your stock. When working with the whole Jellification through chemicals process, I feel that it is safe to say that once your product have been produced, it only deteriorates in quality, so you have to start with absolute perfection.
In order to recreate this dish, I have to make a shrimp stock. I decide to use whole shrimp (as apposed to just the shells) to extract the maximum possible flavor for the stock. I use a Mire Poix, Black Peppercorns, Bay leaves, a clove of Garlic, and about a gallon of water.
Quick Tips: Shrimp Stock
- I left the shrimp unpeeled, the shells are a wonderful source of additional flavor.
- Dry the shrimp off with a hand towel so that the crustaceans get a nice color and sear instead of steam when you brown them.
- Brown the Mire Poix as well to get more of a developed deeper flavor.
- add enough water to generously cover your ingredients in the pot.
- After a moment I blended the stock with my immersion blender to insure the marriage and unification of flavors.
- Bring your stock to a rapid boil after you buzz it with a immersion blender
- Cut the heat to a simmer, begin to reduce until you have half of the original amount of stock remaining in your pot.
- Strain the stock through a Chinois to get rid of any unwanted particles and give the liquid smooth consistency.
- Remember to season your stock to perfection once you have finished reducing the liquid.
- You will notice the stock visibly thicken.
- Strain The Puree once again, then get it into a couple of squeeze bottles.
- Set up you Calcium Water Bath with a bowl of clean water in the general area.
- Use 1 % Calcium Chloride in correlation to the amount of water you use.
Begin to quickly Pipe long ribbons which will immediately resemble a thin angle hair pasta, suspended in the water
- If the stock does not hold shape and disintegrates upon touching the water, not enough Sodium Alginate has been added.
- If the, mass holds its shape in the water but dissolves one you try to remove it, not enough Calcium Chloride is in your solution.
Let the calcium solution “cook” your puree until you have a sturdy, pliable, delicious end product. Once you have your perfect Noodle, Create your own take on a classic that transports you back to eight years old again.