Better Salad Through Chemicals

The blog Cooking Issues by Dave Arnold and Nils Norén of the French Culinary Institute in New York, is one of my favorites for being randomly awesome. On the face of it, it's a vehicle for Arnold, who apparently has the coolest job in the world, to detail his daily science-lab-style hijinks, such as how to replicate Turkish stretchy ice cream using synthetic orchid powder, or how to vacuum-infuse a martini inside a cucumber. Typical sentences begin, "I had a hydrocolloid class coming up..." There are also some seemingly non-related asides, like an ongoing series of portraits they're taking of notable people including Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Merle Haggard drinking a slug of Aquavit. (?!)

Anyway, a recent post entitled "Enzymatic Peeling? Hell Yes!" addressed one of the things I hate to do most in cooking: cutting the white pith off citrus fruit segments, aka "supreme" them. But Arnold and Norén have figured out how to perfect segments of citrus without a knife. Through their mad science ways, they can remove the pith by soaking the fruit in a solution of chemical Pectinex Ultra SP-L and Pectinex Smash XXL (yet another great use for these common kitchen ingredients!) The result were magically de-pithed fruit segments that look disturbingly like glistening organs. Check it out.

Image by Cooking Issues

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