Cook the Book

Earth and Sea From 'Coi' (Part 2)

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[Photograph: Maren Caruso]

Daniel Patterson's Earth and Sea dish in his Coi cookbook brings together the mushroom dashi we made yesterday with a tofu mousseline. This mousseline is a subtle number, a blend of medium and silken tofu, thickened with egg whites and flavored with a hint of ginger and shichimi togarashi. It provides a soft base for the broth, and it grounds the dish with profound earthiness. Floating in the thickened broth is a mix of small pieces of seaweed, pickled Tokyo turnips, and slender strips of yuba (tofu skin). The seaweed echos the salinity of the dashi, while the turnips and yuba anchors the broth to the mousseline. A smattering of lime zest is the final genius touch—brightening each bite with its citrusy fragrance.

Why I picked this recipe: The photograph of the dish in the book looks like magic. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could pull it off at home.

What worked: For a dish that appears so mysterious and challenging, it really wasn't terribly difficult. My attempt wasn't quite as pretty, but it still tasted great.

What didn't: My oven is terribly inconsistent, so I'll blame its heat spike for the fact that I broke the mousselines. They looked fine in the oven, but their texture once eaten was a bit grainy. I'd suggest preheating your oven well in advance to help insure a consistent temperature when baking.

Suggested tweaks: You can use dried seaweed if you can't find fresh (I couldn't). Rehydrate the seaweeds in cold water before using. Try to choose seaweed that is small and tender. If you can't find yuba, you can leave it out. If you've got thick, clear, ovenproof glass ramekin-like bowls, use those for the visual effect. I used those French glass "working" jars that come with bright red lids. Otherwise, regular ceramic ramekins will work just fine.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of cookbook to give away this week.

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