Ice plants in bloom
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Sea Urchin, Mussel Frost, Ice Plant, Cucumber & Purple Potatoes

Justin Cogley, Aubergine, L'Aubergine Caramel, Caramel-by-the-Sea, California / March 2012

For 6 servings

Mussel frost:
• 5 Tbsps. fine salt
• 1 1/4 cups filtered water
• 2 sheets gelatin, bloomed in cold water
• 1 1/4 cups mussel stock, strained through coffee filter
• 2 tsps. yuzu juice

  1. Heat salt and water in small saucepan set over low heat until salt is dissolved; place in a bowl; cover; refrigerate until cold.

  2. Measure out 1 Tbsp. salt water base, reserving remainder for another use; place in small saucepan set over medium heat; add gelatin; cook, stirring, until gelatin has dissolved; add stock and juice; place in Pacojet container; freeze.

  3. Process in Pacojet on setting 1 until snow-like consistency; reserve in freezer.

Seawater gelée:
• 5 2/3 cups filtered water
• 1  3" piece kombu
• 1 1/4 Tbsps. bonito flakes
• sea salt
• 7 sheets gelatin, bloomed in cold water

  1. Bring water and kombu to a boil in large saucepan; remove from heat; let stand 1 hour; remove kombu; discard.

  2. Heat cooking liquid until instant-read thermometer registers 176°F; add bonito flakes; remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes; strain through coffee filter into clean bowl; cool; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold.

  3. Measure out 4 1/4 cups liquid; season (you want this to have a salty sea water taste); add gelatin; place over a pot of simmering water; heat, stirring, until gelatin dissolves; remove from heat; pour into a bowl; refrigerate until set; reserve in refrigerator.

Shallot vinaigrette:
• 1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
• 2 tsps. lemon juice
• 2 Tbsps. plus 2/3 tsp. olive oil
• sea salt

Whisk shallots, juice, and oil in a bowl; season; reserve.

Assembly:
• 2 sm. Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced into 2 1/3" lengths on mandoline
• salt
• 18 sm. purple potatoes
• 24 sea beans
• 24 sea urchins, cleaned and tongues reserved in a cup with some juices from urchins
• 18 sm. ice plant leaves
• lemons, halved

  1. Place cucumbers in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; season with salt; vacuum seal; reserve.

  2. Place potatoes in large saucepan; add water just to cover; bring to a boil; cook until very tender; remove from heat; drain; break into small rocklike pieces; place in ice-water bath; let stand until potatoes turn blue; drain; place potatoes in large bowl; drizzle vinaigrette over; toss to coat; reserve.

  3. To serve, break gelée into small rock-size pieces; scatter several pieces across bottom of 6 shallow bowls; place 3 potato piecess around gelée in each bowl; scatter cucumber slices, sea beans, and sea urchins over top to look like the ocean floor, dividing evenly; garnish with ice plant leaves; scatter mussel frost on top; squeeze some lemon juice over each.

What to drink: Trajarinho Vinho Verde Portugal 2010