From fish to butter, chefs around the globe are ageing unlikely ingredients to pack their dishes with a powerful punch of flavour.
“Every chef’s goal is to get something at its freshest, but it’s equally important to understand when something’s at its peak. That doesn’t always mean fresh is best,” says chef Ed Verner of Pasture, the restaurant in Auckland known for its innovative tasting-menu.
Tokyo sushi master Koji Kimura would agree. He matures amberjack for 30 days in a carefully controlled chamber to bring out its umami and sweetness, while reducing the fish’s moisture.
Over in Los Angeles, chef Adam Perry Lang hangs meat for an unthinkable 365 days in a custom basement ageing room at his restaurant APL. The end result is a steak with deeply rich notes of foie gras.
As for Verner, he uses ageing on even the most minute items, the oldest and most unique being a decadent year-old butter. “As the butter ages, the colour darkens and the flavour gets richer, taking on pungent blue cheese notes,” Verner explains of his addictive bread and butter course.
It seems that for these chefs, things do get better with age.
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This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine