Seaweed cracker, fermented mushroom caramel, Parmesan custard

  • medium
  • Makes 10 crackers
  • 1 hour 20 minutes

Seaweed, fermented mushroom and aged Parmesan – this canapé from Alex Bond is an incredible combination of flavours that work in perfect harmony. This recipe takes some time to put together – allow a few days to ferment the mushrooms and dry out the tapioca – but the results are worth the wait. We'd recommend fermenting extra mushrooms – you'll want to put them in everything.

First published in 2020

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Fermented ceps

Seaweed cracker

  • 120g of tapioca pearls
  • 675ml of water
  • nori powder
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Fermented mushroom caramel

  • 200g of sugar
  • 100ml of cream
  • 5g of agar agar

Parmesan custard

Method

1
Start by fermenting the mushrooms. Pack the ceps into a sterilised jar with 2g (2% weight) of salt. Cover with a piece of muslin (or similar breathable lid) and leave to ferment at room temperature for 4 days. You can make more or less of this if you like – fermented ceps have an incredible flavour and you can use them to add a deep umami taste to many dishes. Just remember to adjust the quantity of salt accordingly (it should always be 2% of the weight of the mushrooms)
2
When the mushrooms have fermented you can get on with the rest of the dish. Put the tapioca and the water into a pan and bring to the boil. Cook until the centre of the pearls are still white – this should take between 10-12 minutes
  • 120g of tapioca pearls
  • 675ml of water
3
Spread the tapioca out onto trays and dry out for 12 hours in a very low oven or a dehydrator
4
To make the fermented mushroom caramel, pour the sugar into a pan and melt it gently to make a caramel. Meanwhile, take 35g of the fermented ceps and bring to the boil with the cream in a separate pan
  • 200g of sugar
  • 100ml of cream
5
When the caramel is a nice deep golden colour, pour in the cream and the ceps and add the agar agar. Be careful as the caramel may spit a bit when you add the cream. Bring the mixture back to a boil then remove from the heat and let the mixture set in the fridge
  • 5g of agar agar
6
Once the mixture has set, add to a powerful blender with 100ml of the liquid created by the fermented mushrooms and blend until smooth. Pass the caramel through a fine sieve and place in a piping bag for later
7
To make the Parmesan custard, place the boiled eggs and Parmesan in a blender. Boil the cream, then pour over the boiled eggs and Parmesan, add some salt and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning, pass through a fine sieve and allow to cool, then reserve in the fridge in a piping bag
8
Preheat a deep pan of oil or deep-fat fryer to 220°C. Once the tapioca pearls have dried out and formed into a thin sheet, break it up into small crackers and deep-fry for a few minutes until puffed up. Remove from the oil and season with salt and a liberal dusting of nori powder
9
To serve, pipe dots of the Parmesan custard and mushroom caramel on top of the cracker and cover with grated Parmesan
First published in 2020

After working with the likes of Sat Bains and Richard Turner, Alex Bond is blazing his own trail at Alchemilla in Nottingham, where his innovative dishes have made him one of the most exciting chefs in the country.

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