Consommé is one of those things I’ve always been intrigued by but never made before. Traditionally, it’s an ultra-clear soup made from stock that has been clarified using egg whites.
Chang’s consommé for oysters isn’t traditional, instead “gelatin clarification” is used. Consommé is usually labour intensive and limited in it’s uses, but gelatin clarification is less work intensive and more adaptable, because you can make consommé out of any liquid.
This is the “easy” way to make consommé, and it actually was pretty easy. Pureed kimchi is stirred up with water, rice wine vinegar, sugar, black pepper and gelatin.
The recipe calls for gelatin sheets, which is not a common form of gelatin around here. I found mine at Gourmet Warehouse, this great store here in Vancouver that carries lots of hard to find items (but not meat glue!). Gelatin sheets are like powdered gelatin, but in sheet form. The sheet is bloomed in hot water and stirred up and then all the other ingredients are added and the whole thing is put into the freezer.
After the mixture was frozen, I wrapped the kimchi ice cube in cheesecloth and set it in a strainer over a container. The frozen kimchi ice cube is supposed to melt in the fridge slowly over 12-24 hours.
After 24 hours I took a look and found the tiniest amount of kimchi consommé. It was super clear and slightly red.
I shucked some oysters and topped them with the consommé and gave it a try (actually, I made Mike try it first):
Me: What do you think?
Mike: That was kinda funky. Not like the oyster went bad funky, but just odd. What was it topped with?
Me: Kimchi consommé.
Mike: Oh. I think I like it without.
I agree with Mike, it was a little funky tasting and I still stand by my naked oyster preference. Maybe the melon gelée will change my mind.