For my first foray into so-called 'molecular gastronomy' I decided to try my hand at re-creating an inspirational dish from Ferran Adria, the master himself. El Bulli's Pea Ravioli are one of their signature menu items that helped propel El Bulli into 'Best Restaurant in the World' status. Off I go.
Seeing as it was my first experiment with these ingredients, I referenced the hydrocolloid recipe collection at khymos.org.
1500 g Cold Water
10 g Calcium Chloride (0.67%)
Combine the water and the calcium chloride. Stir to dissolve. Chill.
130 g Frozen Peas
162 g Water
3 Mint Leaves
1.5 g Sodium Alginate (0.5%)
Heat the peas in enough water to cover for about 4-5 minutes. Add mint leaves for the last minute or so. Shock in ice water bath. Strain.
Combine the sodium alginate and water, blend to mix evenly. (I found it worked best to use a tall container and add the sodium alginate to the water gradually, with the immersion blender running.)
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature.
Combine the peas and the room temperature sodium alginate/water. Blend until smooth.
Dip a rounded (plastic measuring) Tablespoon into the bath, then pour the pea mixture just to fill the spoon. Dip the spoon into the bath, and rotate to release the 'ravioli.'
Let sit in the bath for two minutes (longer time creates a thicker coat) and then remove to a cold water bath.
Plate and serve immediately with sea salt and a mint sprig.
It took me a few tries to get the proper technique down for making nicely rounded shapes, but the results were spectacular. I found that coating the spoon with a little of the calcium chloride bath made it much easier for the mixture to release from the spoon, and helped to ensure the rounded shape. These 'ravioli' have a wonderful texture, the coating dissolves in the mouth and leaves just the essence of peas.