We all enjoy spherification caviar, those small liquid spheres created using the Basic Spherification method developed by molecular gastronomy Chef Ferran Adria. But it takes time to make them and unfortunately they need to be consumed immediately before they convert into jelly with no liquid inside. This makes them a challenge for the busy chef or bartender who wants to delight customers with intriguing faux caviar.
Fortunately, there are some spherification caviar products in the market that require no prep time and last several months. Very convenient for the busy chef, bartender or the consumer who wants to simply add a touch of molecular gastronomy to a dish without any elaborated process. Some time ago we introduced you to Caviaroli, olive oil caviar created by Chef Ferran Adria which can be purchased in jars and does not need to be consumed immediately. I now tried spherification
caviar from another Spanish company, Pescaviar, which also comes in jars, lasts 9 months in refrigeration and comes in six different flavors.
The juice caviar from Pescaviar is called Cocktail Pearls and is made using Reverse Spherification instead of Basic Spherification. One of the benefits of Reverse Spherification is that the gelification process stops when the spheres are removed from the sodium alginate bath so the inside of the sphere remains liquid and immediate consumption is not necessary. The Reverse Spherification process is very convenient for making large spheres but not for small caviar spheres. There are basically two problems:
-The mass of the small drop required to produce caviar is too small to penetrate the surface of the dense sodium alginate bath.
-Spheres stick to each other in the bath if they get in contact. Given that when making spherification caviar you need lots of spheres, it is virtually impossible and not practical to keep them separated in the bath.
Pescaviar has a proprietary industrial process that solves these two problems and allows them to produce faux caviar that lasts several months using Reverse Spherification. The process is different from the encapsulation method used by molecular gastronomy Chef Ferran Adria to make olive oil caviar. The Cocktail pearls are made using only natural ingredients and come in six different flavors in jars of 60 g and 365 g. In the USA they can be purchased in Fairway Market stores in New York.
The six Cocktail Pearl flavors available are:
- Vinegar and Shallots (shown in Niguiri Vinegar Shallots Caviar picture above)
- Strawberry (shown in Mochi Strawberry Caviar picture above)
- Lime and Lemon (shown in Oyster Lime Lemon Caviar picture above)
- Chili Pepper (shown in Steak Tartar Chili Caviar picture below)
- Apple and Ginger (shown in Cheesecake Apple Ginger Caviar picture below)
- Lemon and Pepper (shown in Salmon Lemon Pepper Caviar picture below)
I found the flavors of the Cocktail Pearls to be very good. The only thing I didn’t love is that they are opaque and not crystal clear like the olive oil caviar from Chef Ferran Adria so they are not as visually appealing as they could be.
Recipes from Pescaviar Cocktail Pearls
STEAK TARTAR WITH COCKTAIL PEARLS – CHILI PEPPER
- 2 lbs sirloin or filet mignon, cut into small dice
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons mustard (Dijon mustard recommended)
- 1 tablespoon red onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Cocktail Pearls – Chili Pepper
- Salt and pepper
1- Trim and grind the meat twice. Chop finely the red onions.
2- In a bowl, mix the egg yolk, red onions, capers, mustard, salt and pepper.
3- Add olive oil and beat lightly for a few seconds.
4- Add meat and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Beat lightly for a few seconds.
5- Garnish the Steak Tartar with 10-12 Cocktail Pearls – Chili Pepper.
6- Refrigerate or serve immediately.
Recommendation: Steak Tartare cannot be preserved more than 2 hours, even in a fridge. Served with French fries or as a starter.
SMOKED SALMON ROLLS WITH LEMMON & PEPPER COCKTAIL PEARLS
- Sliced smoked salmon
- Cherry tomatoes
- Spinning egg
- Seed Oil
- Chips of fresh bread
- Lemon & Pepper Cocktail Pearls
1- Place the rocket in a large bowl
2- Make small rolls with the smoked salmon filled with the Lemon & Pepper Cocktail Pearls
3- Add the cherry tomatoes cut in half, the spinning egg and salmon to the salad
4- Toast the bread and serve it with the salad
5- Season with the seed oil and serve cold
CHEESECAKE WITH APPLE & GINGER PEARLS
- 1 tub of cheese cream (250 gr.)
- 3 natural yogurts (or other flavours)
- 3 medium eggs
- 50 grams of flour
- 150 grams of sugar
- Butter for the baking pan
- Apple & Ginger Cocktail Pearls
1- Turn the oven heat to 175⁰C and grease the baking pan with butter, sparkling a little bit of flour and sugar. Reserve it
2- Mix in a large bowl all the ingredients: cheese, yogurts, eggs, flour and sugar
3- Beat with a hand mixer until creamy fine
4- Pour the batter in a pan and put it into the oven when the temperature is checked
5- Boil for half an hour (depends on the thickness, if it is too roasted, cover with foil)
6- To know when the cheesecake is done, insert a toothpick and check that it comes out clean
7- When retire the cake from the oven, let it cool and then put it into the fridge
8- In this last step, the cake will acquire the particular texture of the cheesecake
9- Add the Apple & Ginger Cocktail Pearls before serving