Thursday, March 3, 2011

Foraged: Popotillo & Salt Bush

With our foraged dinners, I'm attempting to take the concept as far as possible. I want to move beyond simply using mushrooms and garnishes to intense manipulation of the ingredients - just as I would standard ingredients. So when the foraging team brings me a new item I walk myself through a process.

My first thought after tasting the item is: powder, liquid, gel, ice, oil? And then I typically will work the foraged ingredient into each of those forms to see what happens. In some cases, the simplest is the best. Take for example my current Duck Pot Pie. I found that the salt bush was a great seasoning, but it did best in water. Likewise, the popotillo performed best in water (which makes sense since its also called Mormon tea). So, I lightly warmed the duck with the salt bush and popotillo and let them rest for an hour to infuse. Then I poached the duck until tender and done.

This picture is an older version of my dish where the duck is then sliced, set in a pine cone tip infused savory cream with green onion and savory granola.

I'm looking forward to the foragers venturing out a bit further and bringing me some new items as the weather becomes a bit warmer.

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