Courtesy of The Chef's Garden
Citrus Coriander Bloom
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Citrus Coriander Bloom

Farmer Lee Jones / August 3rd, 2012

In the heyday of French fine dining, we couldn’t give cilantro away. However, with the rising popularity of international cuisines and regional fusions, cilantro has become a staple for many chefs. We found an exceptional seed variety with a tone of citrus. Perhaps more impressive than the flavor are the blooms that pack a punch of lemony cilantro flavor, which also serve as a built-in garnish.

Chef Phillip Foss of EL Ideas in Chicago realizes it doesn’t take much to impart the flavor and beauty of citrus coriander blooms in this inventive dish, which he cleverly calls Gin and Juice. Yet, it is an essential component of this simply composed oyster dish, along with cucumber and a gelled cocktail of Crème de Violette and Botanist Gin.

The dish itself was the product of a creative melding of minds. Foss credits the original idea to dining room manager Bill Talbott, who thought it would be fun to do a course inspired by Snoop Dogg’s classic song “Gin & Juice.” Chef/collaborator Kevin McMullen concocted the gelled cocktail. Cucumber became the juice, and a Stellar Bay oyster the centerpiece. The coriander blooms added the final touch. “I wanted to play off the botanical nature of the gin,” says Foss, “so I went with citrus coriander blossoms, as coriander was used in the gin to play off the cocktail.”