11.18.12: cocktail (bubbles on bubbles, or citrus airs with cavas and proseccos)

Cava with Clementine Air

Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliç Any Nou! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and that the return to real life is as painless as possible.

One of the things on my Christmas wishlist was a copy of Decoding Ferran Adrià because it had been years—literally—since I had seen it; cooking through Ferran Adrià At Home and The Family Meal over the last few years had gradually built up my interest once again and I wanted to revisit the special that turned this chef into more of a household name. In the age of Pinterest and the revival of recipes featuring canned cream-of-whatever soup mixed with cream cheese and boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the name of comfort food, revisiting the world of mango caviar and carrot foams feels delightfully subversive. It’s also ever-so-slightly more accessible to me these days, mainly thanks to Adrià acolyte José Andrés. (He’s my latest culinary crush, after all.)

It all came about when he started making a clementine foam—cleverly called an air—that was delicately spooned over a glass of cava during the “Surf and Turf” episode of Made in Spain. The only equipment required was a tall container and an immersion blender, and the only special ingredient required was soy lecithin. It’s not too difficult to find, as Bob’s Red Mill sells a big bag of the stuff, or you can do what I did and buy a packet of the (likely) overpriced Texturas brand from Modernist Pantry because if you’re going to dabble in modernist cuisine, why not buy the kind the master of the movement endorses?

(My other justification: I use so little of it in every instance that it feels OK to splurge a little on the ingredient. In my mind, I’m simply buying the soy lecithin version of the good vanilla.)

Cava with cara-cara air.

Cava with cara cara air.

The picture leading this post represents my first attempt at foam-making. The picture directly above shows my most recent foray on New Year’s Day, and what I’ve learned in the weeks I’ve been fiddling with this recipe are as follows:

  • Don’t pack the soy lecithin into the quarter teaspoon as it will simply clump and make it difficult to mix into the juice.
  • Use the tallest and thinnest container you have to let the bubbles build on each other.
  • Tip the container away from you when you blend, and keep the immersion blender at an angle.
  • Re-mixing the juice is perfectly acceptable if you need more foam.

Take advantage of the fact that we’re in the height of awesome-citrus-season and make this over the weekend. If you have some eggs and bacon, you’ll have yourself a delicious and fancy brunch—and there is nothing wrong with that prospect.

Sparkling Wine with Citrus Air

adapted from Made in Spain by José Andrés

Serves four to six, depending on the size of your glasses

  • One bottle cava or prosecco
  • 1 generous cup of freshly squeezed citrus juice—if clementines are in season, they pair wonderfully with cava, and blood oranges and cara cara oranges pair nicely with prosecco. Orange and tangerine juices work well, too, of course.
  •  ¼ teaspoon soy lecithin (I use the Texturas brand, but it’s also available via Bob’s Red Mill
  •  A little zest from your citrus of choice

Equipment needed: an immersion blender and a tall, thin container

Pour the cava or prosecco into champagne flutes, only about halfway to three-quarters full, and rub the zest around the rim of the glasses.

Add the juice to the tall container (use one you feel comfortable placing an immersion blender into, obviously) and add the soy lecithin to the juice. The first time I attempted this, I think I packed it too tightly and therefore it didn’t emulsify as well as it could, so don’t be concerned with exact amounts here. Tilt the container away from you and place the blender into the juice and begin to mix everything well until bubbles form. Using a spoon, gently scoop the foam and place them into the glasses and serve.

  1. hee-hee. I don’t think I’d ever heard José espeak so much een-glish. He says “yoose” !! I love it! Do they always play “Siete horas” as the bed music to the segments? Such a weird juxtaposition.

    • Yes–it does pop up quite often, along with a few tracks by Jarabe de Palo (“Pura sangre” and “Depende”). He suppose he wanted to get his money’s worth from those music licenses! They even made a companion soundtrack for the series.

  2. Yes–it does pop up quite often, along with a few tracks by Jarabe de Palo (“Pura sangre” and “Depende”). He suppose he wanted to get his money’s worth from those music licenses! They even made a companion soundtrack for the series.

  3. Citrus air?!? Hardcore. I love that you were able to actually photograph it too! I’m fascinated by Ferran Adria but always wonder if I’d leave hungry because the dishes are so tiny and pretty. Guess I’m just a meat and potatoes girl at heart 🙂

    • Well, there is a reason why the tastings are 38 courses (at least at the time of Decoding Ferran Adria)!

  4. Modernist cuisine, huh? Something I admire, yet am soooooo far away from.I’m still over here trying to make bread.

    Okay, so I’ve just spent the last few minutes browsing through Modernist Pantry… and now have joined their mailing list. Maybe now I can finally figure out how to make apple juice noodles?!

    Cheers to a wonderful 2013. I shall toast with my bubbles on bubbles when my Texturas Lecite arrives in the mail.


    • There’s a reason why foams are both the most easily-recognized and the most-reviled in the haute cuisine community–they are the easiest to do and are sublime when used correctly, but of course there are charlatans who over-extend their utility and put foams on everything (see: Marcel from season 2 of Top Chef).

      • Lol. I once had a banana foam on top of some minty thing that tasted of toothpaste. #nobueno

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