Charred Baby Carrots with Kombucha, Nasturtium, Barley & Lamb Belly

Staplehouse, Atlanta, Ryan Smith - June 2014

For 8 servings (requires advance preparation)

Kombucha:

  • 7 Tbsps. (100g) loose black tea
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 kombucha mother (scoby)
  • honey
  1. Place tea in heatproof bowl; bring 4 1/3 cups water to a boil in large saucepan; pour over tea; let stand 5 minutes; strain into a pitcher; add sugar; stir until dissolved; add 4 1/3 cups cold water (mixture should be under 70°F); add kombucha mother; pour into large glass jar; cover with cheesecloth; let stand at room temperature 10 days.

  2. Strain through fine chinois into clean jar; reserve kombucha mother for future use; add honey to kombucha/tea mixture; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

Lamb belly:

  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) Activa RM
  • 2 1-lb. (907g) lamb bellies, connective tissue andsinew removed
  • 3 1/3 tsps. (20g) sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps. (3g) white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 1/8 tsps. (5g) granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsps. (57g) rendered lamb fat
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • canola oil (for frying)
  1. Sprinkle Activa RM over underside of 1 lamb belly; stack second belly on top; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; vacuum seal (keeping meat stacked); place in hotel pan; place smaller hotel pan on top; weight with at least 5 lbs. of cans; refrigerate overnight.

  2. Remove bellies from bag; sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, and sugar; place on a baking sheet; refrigerate 2 hours.

  3. Place bellies in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; add fat and thyme; vacuum-seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water bath at 145°F, 20 hours; remove bag from water bath; place bag in hotel pan; top again with smaller hotel pan; weight with at least 5 lbs. of cans; refrigerate overnight.

  4. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375°F.

  5. Remove bellies from bag; cut into 1/2 oz. pieces (there should be 25 to 30 pieces total); season; working in batches, fry until golden brown and crisp; place on paper towels to drain; season lightly with salt; reserve (keep warm).

Barley:

  • 1 cup (200g) pearl barley
  • canola oil (for frying)
  • sea salt
  1. Place barley and 2 qts. water in a medium pot; let soak at room temperature overnight.

  2. Strain barley; refill with fresh water; set pot over medium-high heat; cook until grains burst; remove from heat; drain; place barley in large bowl; cover with ice water; wash starch from grain; strain; spread out grains on clean kitchen towels to drain; place barley on baking sheets lined with parchment paper in thin layer; let stand at room temperature until grains are hard and very dry (3 to 5 days).

  3. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375°F.

  4. Fry barley just until puffed and golden brown; remove; place on paper towels to drain; season; cool; cover in airtight container; reserve.

Nasturtium sauce:

  • 1 lb. (456g) nasturtium leaves
  • sea salt
  • Ultra-Tex 3
  1. Pass 1/2 lb. nasturtium leaves through juicer; pour into vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; add remaining 1/2 lb. nasturtium leaves; vacuum seal; cook in a pot of rapidly boiling water until leaves are cooked and mixture is bright green (about 30 seconds); immediately place in ice water bath.

  2. Remove from ice water bath; place nasturtium leaves and juice in a blender; blend until smooth; season with salt; add Ultra-Tex 3 as needed to thicken mixture to sauce consistency; cover in airtight container; refrigerate until cold; reserve.

Assembly:

  • 2 bunches baby carrots with tops, scrubbed, tops removed and reserved
  • 1 Tbsp. (15g) olive oil
  • 2 tsps. (12g) sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) unsalted butter
  1. Burn wood to coals in wood burning grill or hearth.

  2. Toss carrots and oil on baking sheet; season; roast carrots over coals until skins are very charred but carrots are not overcooked (they should still have some texture to them); remove.

  3. Heat butter and 1/4 cup (59g) kombucha in sauté pan; cook until liquid reduces to glaze consistency; add charred carrots; cook, tossing occasionally, until carrots are coated; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  4. To serve, spoon a large circle of nasturtium sauce onto each circular serving plate, following contour of plate; arrange carrots on plate, starting at 1 o’clock in a straight line down to 7 o’clock; randomly place 3 pieces lamb belly on or around carrots on each plate; sprinkle carrots with puffed barley; garnish with remaining carrot tops.

What to drink: Renato Ratti Nebbiola d’Alba Ochetti 2012

Chef’s Note: I store my kombucha mother submerged in finished kombucha. Cover and reserve in refrigerator. Refrigeration will make the mother dormant.