Top Shelf: by Chef Tim McDonald
I am a disciple of Anthony Bourdain’s loves and fascinations – simple pasta cacio e pepe, Italian women with “arrabbiata” personalities, Persol sunglasses, Negronis, the boredom of salt manufacturing, the negative attitudes toward fishing expeditions that bear no fruit. But one love of his in particular has become my passion: uni.
I can best describe uni as the aftertaste of being dunked by a big wave in the surf.
I first had this dish in its embryonic form at Joel Rouberchons restaurant in New York City more than a decade ago. Now, with the advent of sprouts, rainbow carrots, spheres and the accessibility to the posh cat food that so many of the affluent indulge in for their two-week, floating, “city sleeker” vacations, the Bugs Bunny Death Row Dinner Box has morphed.
The dish comprises a study of sweet carrots, the salty punctuations of beluga caviar and uni.
It’s a very simple dish. You could label it a modern French dish that Bruno Olger could have created at the amazing 5-star La Villa Archange in Cannes.
In your mis en place assemble…
Carrot and ginger juice: I usually get the girls upstairs to make this – and watch out for the overuse of ginger!
Carrot puree: Using chicken stock, I boil down the carrots till soft, drain and puree in the robot.
Rainbow carrots: Posh carrots are roasted whole with olive oil and salt until tender, then trimmed.
Uni: This season, I was supplied A-grade frozen uni from Van Gorsel, and this worked really well.
Wakame pearls and radish sprouts
Using a main-course pasta bowl, plop a quenelle of carrot puree down and place a lobe of raw uni at room temperature on top.
Arrange the warm carrots around the uni and dress lightly with the carrot/ginger juice.
Add a generous spoonful of Beluga on top, and garnish with radish sprouts and wakame pearls.
Tim MacDonald (timothymacdonald.weebly.com) has more than 20 years experience as a chef. He was named Concours de Chefs winner for Yachts over 160 feet at the 2011 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.