In my last post, I presented my version of a traditional Czech roast duck, which wasn’t so traditional after all and omitted the red cabbage that usually accompanies the meat. Today, the red cabbage is getting its revenge!
This recipe is inspired by a dish created by Jean-François Douffet at his restaurant L’Art de Vivre, in the Belgian town of Spa, which I read about in Culinaire Saisonnier. Douffet’s dish consisted of sautéed quail with wild mushrooms, served with a cup of red cabbage soup topped with bacon foam. My version keeps the cup, but everything else (now duck magret and cremini mushrooms) is shrunk to small pieces arranged on a cocktail skewer. Even the preparation of my red cabbage cappuccino is radically different, as it’s based on reduced red cabbage juice. Juicing a red cabbage might sound terribly nasty, but you’d be surprised: not only does the juice have an amazingly vibrant purple color, it also becomes very sweet when you reduce it. To contrast with that sweetness, I finish the cappuccino with a truffle foam that brings some earthy notes.
This is a pretty easy and quick recipe, but you’ll most likely need to procure three of its ingredients online ahead of time:
- Foam Magic powder takes the complexity out of molecular gastronomy. No need to memorize the names, properties, and usage parameters of some bizarre hydrocolloids – Foam Magic will make pretty much any liquid foam at any temperature! You can purchase this magic powder from Modernist Pantry here. (If you must know, it’s a blend of maltodextrin, methylcellulose, and xanthan gum.) I’m using it to make the truffle foam on top of the cappuccino.
- Truffle juice is the other ingredient of that foam. It’s really the liquid in which black truffles have been cooked. Make sure to buy black winter truffle juice: it doesn’t come cheap (over $50 a pint for something that’s akin to flavored water), but it’s very potent and a little goes a long way. The rest can be frozen and added to soups and sauces. You’ll find various brands all over the Internet; just avoid the ones that sell for a price that seems too good to be true, as they certainly don’t contain 100% real black winter truffles.
- Finally, the smoked or cured duck breast, skewered as a garnish for the cappuccino, is certainly something I could have made myself – another time, maybe. For now, just be lazy like me and buy it from D’Artagnan here or here.
Reduced red cabbage juice
Yields about 4 servings
1250 g (about 1) red cabbage
100 g chicken or duck stock
0.75 g salt
- Cut the red cabbage into large chunks, and process with a juice extractor. Pass the cabbage juice through a chinois – you should have between 600 g and 750 g of juice.
- Transfer to a saucepan, and reduce over high heat to about half, skimming regularly. Keep an eye on the saucepan to prevent the contents from overflowing.
- Remove from heat, and pass through a chinois one more time. Return the juice to a clean, smaller saucepan, add the stock and the salt, stir, then reduce over medium-high heat to 300 g. Reserve.
Winter black truffle foam
Yields over 4 servings
100 g winter black truffle juice, room temperature
50 g milk, room temperature
1.6 g Foam Magic powder
0.5 g salt
- Place the black truffle juice, milk, Foam Magic, and salt in a blender, and blend for a few seconds on high speed, until the mixture starts to foam.
- Fit a 1 liter siphon with a straight tip. Pour the truffle foam into the siphon, and charge with two cartridges of N2O, shaking vigorously after each one. Keep at room temperature.
Yields 4 servings
reduced red cabbage juice
4 slices (each 7 cm long, about 40 g total) smoked or cured duck breast, skin on
4 thin slices (about 10 g) cremini mushroom
winter black truffle foam
about 1 g chives, minced
8 slices French baguette (optional)
- Reheat the reduced cabbage juice to a simmer in the microwave.
- Prepare 10 cm long cocktail skewers with one piece of duck breast and one slice of mushroom each.
- Into 100-125 ml glasses or cups, pour 60-75 g of the red cabbage juice. Top to the rim with winter black truffle foam from the siphon (pour at a slight angle to prevent it from mixing with the red cabbage too much). Garnish with the skewers, and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately, with bread.