Monday, March 7, 2011

Chemistry Adventures: Arugula Noodles

This was a quick and easy little chemistry adventure that ended up being pretty awesome. I saw the recipe over at one of my favorite places to get molecular gastronomy guidance, and instantly knew I had to give it a go.
Today's Chemical:
  • Agar Agar
I got some larger syringes and some tubing from a fun online store a few months ago, and was glad to get to put them to use.
Arugula goes into a blender with some shallot and water...
After that's all puréed, it's time for the agar agar.
Agar agar is dissolved in the arugula purée, then the mixture is brought to a boil, whisking constantly. That's it for prep. Now the mixture is injected into the tubing using a syringe.
The tubing is immediately submerged in ice water to set.
There was a bit of a learning curve to getting the noodles out of the tubing. At one point I sent a noodle flying across the room when I applied too much pressure with the syringe. Oops. Once I got a handle on the technique, though, I was able to get some nice, bright green noodles.
To serve, I put some noodles on a plate with a slice of tomato and a slice of some homemade mozzarella (I'll post about that next time I make it... but it was pretty easy and quite tasty). I had also made some fresh pesto, so I placed a round of that on top... The pesto added a necessary flavor component, but looked kind of silly...
My solution was to top/hide the pesto with a couple leaves of baby arugula, and I thought it turned out fairly awesome-looking. (I also painted a stripe of reduced balsamic along one side of the plate just for fun.)
I wasn't super-impressed with my first taste of the noodles on their own. (The raw shallot flavor was a bit strong for my taste...) But when I combined some noodle with a bite of tomato, mozzarella, and pesto? Fantastic. The flavors all complemented each other beautifully and made me regret that I'd only prepared one little serving. This is another one of those dishes that could be an impressive appetizer at a dinner party with minimal work. I will definitely be making more weird noodles in the future...

3 comments:

Brittney Beck said...

In your opinion, would it be possible to make this with spinach instead of arugula?

emmo said...

I can't see why not. =) I would make sure to use baby spinach, though, since pureed older spinach can taste a bit too earthy sometimes...

paizley said...

I would try green onions instead of shallots for a milder flavor, especially using the green parts.