This dish is packed with earthy flavors and aromas! Multiple molecular gastronomy techniques are applied to enhance the flavors, textures and presentation. An innovative glass plate is used to present the dish with oak moss dry ice vapor to stimulate the senses of the diner and create a dramatic presentation. The morel mushrooms are combined with foie gras, asparagus, thyme air, port wine gel, a decadent morel sauce and shallots.
Oak moss is a species of lichen that has a distinct and complex odor and can be described as woody, sharp and slightly sweet. Molecular gastronomy Chef Heston Blumenthal combines the oak moss dry ice vapor with foie gras and truffles in his Jelly of Quail dish so I decided to use the same aroma with the morels and foie gras.
Ingredients for Stuffed Morels and Morel Sauce (4 servings)
- 12 large morel mushrooms (fresh or dry)
- 120 g (4.5 oz) foie gras
- 3 tbsp chopped shallots
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp chopped chives
- 2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
- 2 ½ tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for Port Gel
- 200 g (7 oz) port wine
- 2 g Agar Agar (buy Agar Agar)
- Sugar syrup to taste
Ingredients for Thyme Air
- 200 g (7 oz) warm water
- 1 g salt
- 1 g soy lecithin powder (buy soy lecithin)
- 8 g fresh thyme leaves
Ingredients for Accompaniment
- 12 thin asparagus spears
- 2 large shallots
- 2 l water
- 80 g Kosher salt
- 40 g microgreens
- 8 chives
Ingredients for Oak Moss Dry Ice Vapor
- 1/2 tsp Oak Moss Essential oil
- 2 cups of dry ice pieces or pellets
- 2 cups of warm water
Foie Gras Stuffing
1- On a pan at medium heat, melt ½ tbsp of butter and add the shallots, thyme and chopped chives. Cook until shallots are translucent.
2- Remove pan from heat and add the panko bread crumbs to the mix.
3- Add the foie gras and mix it with the rest of the ingredients using a fork.
4- Season with salt and pepper.
5- Fill a decorating bag with the mix and reserve.
1- Bring port wine to boil and add the agar agar.
2- Simmer for 2-3 minutes and skin off any foam that rises.
3- Season to taste with sugar syrup.
4- Once ready pour into a plastic container and leave to set.
5- Once set, spoon the jelly into a blender and blend until smooth.
6- Strain the mix through a chinois and pour into squeeze bottle.
7- Keep refrigerated until needed.
1- Blend the thyme leaves with the warm water until there are no visible leaves.
2- Let the mix rest for 1 hour.
3- Strain the mix through a fine sieve into a high container wide enough to collect the air.
4- Add salt and soy lecithin powder and mix using an immersion blender and reserve. To produce best results, the mix needs to be cold. Place it in the fridge until one minute before you are ready to start plating and then produce the thyme air.
1- Cut the shallots in half and cook them over medium heat in a pan with some butter. Rotate them occasionally.
1- In a medium pot, bring water and salt to boil.
2- Fill a large bowl with water and ice to cool the asparagus after blanching.
3- Place the asparagus spears in the boiling water for 1 ½ minutes.
4- Remove them and immediately place them in the ice cold water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process.
5- Cut the tip of eight spears, straight so they can be placed upright on the plate.
6- Using a vegetable peeler, cut the remaining asparagus stalk lengthwise into long and thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a cold water bath to maintain them crisp.
7- Cut the remaining asparagus lengthwise into 3 strips and reserve in a sealed container in the fridge.
1- If using dry morels, hydrate them in 2 cups of warm water for 25 minutes. Do not discard the water, we’ll use it for the morel sauce.
2- Fill the morel mushrooms with the foie gras filling and season with salt and pepper.
3- Sauté the morel mushrooms over medium-high heat in 2 tbsp of butter until tender for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the morel mushrooms from the pan.
4- Deglaze the pan with the morel soaking liquid or white wine if you used fresh mushrooms. Reduce the liquid, add heavy cream and simmer until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt if necessary.
Assemble and Serve
1- Place 3 morel mushrooms on each plate.
2- Add a spoon of morel sauce to the plate.
3- Arrange 3 asparagus strips on the plate. You can create loops with them.
4- Arrange 2 or 3 curled asparagus ribbons.
5- Stand 2 asparagus spear tips on each plate.
6- Cut the cooked shallots in half (quarter shallot) and place 2 pieces on each plate.
7- Squeeze a few dots of port gel.
8- To produce the thyme air, you will have to lift the blender to the upper part of the liquid surface to incorporate as much air as possible so that a foam forms on the surface. Once you have enough foam on the surface, let it rest of 1 minute so that the foam sets and the excess of liquid is eliminated. Proceed to remove the foam with a slotted spoon and add to the plate.
9- Garnish with microgreens and chives.
10- For the oak moss dry ice vapor, you can choose between having a large container (e.g. glass bowl) for the table or small containers that you place next to each plate. In this case, we used the cleverly designed Ovni-plate by 100%Chef. The Ovni-plate is made of Pyrex glass and allows the dry ice vapor to come out from the center of the elevated plate creating a very dramatic effect.
Place the dry ice in the desired container, bring it to the table together with the morel dish and pour the mix of warm water and oak moss essential oil over the dry ice at the table.