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LN2 ~ COOKING WITH LIQUID NITROGEN

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

When at the French Culinary Institute I came in early to set up my station. To my surprise there was a huge lobster hooked up with wires and electrodes - - at first I thought it was a practical joke, or perhaps Chef Frankenstein was in the kitchen! In comes Dave Arnold with a crew of students and I immediately knew that Dave was embarking on a new experiment. He is Director of Technology at FCI and was setting up several experiments on the most humane way to kill a lobster. Dave apologized for tying up my station, but to his delight I was hooked on his research and pushing the culinary limits with new technology.

 

After much research and advice I am embarking on molecular gastronomy at my fly fishing lodge in the Adirondack State Park  i.e. - - using liquid nitrogen to create desserts and cocktails. My question is to those who are using LN2 and already know the proper safe handling rules and precautions - - please let me know your recipes and techniques.

 

As far as the lobster goes . . . I personally think that putting it to sleep in the freezer for a short period of time (do not freeze) and then into a steamer pot is the most humane way - - but that's a thread for another day! 

post #2 of 10

Your same friends at FCI have an excellent blog at cookingissues.com.  Under the "Primers" link you will find a list of howto's concerning many modern techniques and ingredients.  Liquid Nitrogen is listed.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for reply! I'm looking for others with new and unique recipes and techniques.

post #4 of 10

Well there are tons of uses, the most obvious being ice creams.

 

Its also great for shattering stuff.  One thing I like to do is to freeze pineapple, grapefruit, and lime segments and shatter them.  I take the shards, mix them with a little sprite soda and some gelatin.  Then I pour the mixture into the peel of a scooped out grapefruit half.  When the gelatin is set, I slice it.  This was originally used as a drink garnish.  The final result is a Frankenstein fruit slice that still has the texture of real fruit but looks like its made of stained glass.  Ive done the same thing with orange segments and orange juice.  Just to take apart an orange and put it back together.

post #5 of 10

Also done back in the early sixties by making cranberry sauce (whole fresh) adding some gel pouring back into large california  oranges which were halfed then meat taken out and filled .Left to set then sliced in quarters and served with turkey dinner, or sliced  for decoration on cold poultry tray.

Back to original Nitrogen questions. I have worrked with foams,  vege and fruit  sorbets and sou vide cookery . It is my humble opinion that it should be left to the commercial part and manufacturing part of the food business. I believe the traditional kitchen should do traditional cuisines and do it right.

    As far as a lobster and their feeling of pain. Since none of us are lobsters or lived in their shells, how can one say when they do and when they don't feel pain?

Why semi freeze, which changes cell structure ?  Why not just induce a  sleep before cooking?


Edited by chefedb - 4/13/11 at 3:20am

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Chef - thanks for reply - all good techniques - especially like the cranberry sauce. Your comment on the semi freeze of lobster and change in cell structure is well taken and TRUE. For clarification, I put them in just long enough to induce sleep. PS - Although fishing season just officially opened here in the Adirondacks (New York State) - - we still have snow! Envy your being in West Palm Beach - I've spent many an enjoyable time scuba diving and dining on lobster.

post #7 of 10

I've also seen a balloon filled with both liquid and air and frozen with LN2 before popping.  You end up with a hollow sphere of frozen liquid.

 

A fun one to do table side is to prepare a piping bag with a puree of cooked waffles and butter.  Dip a plate in LN2 and pipe the "batter" onto the plate.  It spreads out like a pancake and then freezes.  With all the vapor coming off of the plate, it actually looks like the pancake is cooking instead of freezing.  Finish with some syrup and serve.  Some people don't even know its cold until it hits their mouths.

 

You can shatter frozen tuna or steak to get a tartar made out of pointy shards of meat or fish which looks awfully cool.

 

Hot custard can be spooned into liquid nitrogen yielding something like ice cream that is hot inside and cold outside.  I wonder if anyone has ever sent back ice cream for not being "frozen all the way through."

 

An "air" made with liquid and soy lecithin can be frozen into something that looks like a candy.  When popped into ones mouth, the liquid melts instantly, leaving a flavor and also causing the person to blow cold vapor out of their nose.  Frozen popcorn kind of works this way too.

 

 

Even an old school guy can admit that LN2 is awfully nifty for shucking oysters.  The shells expand and contract at different rates so a few seconds in LN2 and the oysters shuck themselves.  The oyster is in and out before the meat is frozen.  This technique saves hours.

post #8 of 10

As for the lobster, a chef I worked for would have us pull off the tail while it was still alive claiming that if it were to die first the stress the animal went through would make it taste worse.  I can't say I've ever noticed a difference.

 

Personally I'm not going to go out of my way to care about a lobster's feelings.  The way I see it they are considerably less biologically complex than a salmon thus probably have less complicated feelings and I've seen first hand how salmon get to die.  They are packed into a fish hold in a huge pile where they choke to death on their own slime.  When I make lobster I still either pull off the tail, steam or boil them without much thought as to how much they dislike it.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Actually, that is what Dave was trying to do in his experiment: Methods of killing a lobster - does it  change the taste.? Or as Dr. Phil might say - - does hurting the lobsters feelings (pain/stress) change the flavor? I was going to make salmon tonight, but will change to lobster . . . no matter how it feels.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADK Chef View Post

Chef - thanks for reply - all good techniques - especially like the cranberry sauce. Your comment on the semi freeze of lobster and change in cell structure is well taken and TRUE. For clarification, I put them in just long enough to induce sleep. PS - Although fishing season just officially opened here in the Adirondacks (New York State) - - we still have snow! Envy your being in West Palm Beach - I've spent many an enjoyable time scuba diving and dining on lobster.


And I miss the snow (on occassion)  and the cold brisk air.  Love upstate NY. Spent many a summer working in Sullivan County and Cooperstown. EB
 

 

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
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