I couldn't imagine ever being wowed by a stock but this one left me stunned it is so very good - all I could think of was Marseilles and a good 'Bouillabaisse' - it's that good and for me personally, this stock alone made buying the book worthwhile.
Back to the dish - all the single elements worked - the prawn oil was quite a surprise. At first I thought, 'nothing happening here' then as the oil cools, the flavour and colour emerge and it packs quite a prawn punch.
The scallop tartare - good, very subtle. The walnut oil, sherry vinegar and lemon work well together without overpowering the sweet scallops (I didn't make HB's pickled lemon as I had my own preserved lemons).
The 'white' foam base (aka sauce) tastes wonderful but it wasn't white - it was more of a deep cream colour (not surprising as the stock has quite a lot of saffron in it). Maybe it would have foamed 'white' if I'd had a more powerful stick blender - I'll try it again just to see if it foams but the taste was great.
It was at the finishing stage that I felt disappointed; the addition of the white chocolate gave a definite sweetness to the dish. Personally I didn't like this and would have preferred the dish without it (the recipe gave no information about the chocolate which did surprise me - if I try another savoury recipe using white chocolate I'll contact Callebaut or another chocolatier beforehand to find out which chocolate would be the most appropriate). The other element of the finishing is the 'caviar or salmon roe'. I used salmon roe and, in my opinion, it doesn't work. The overall subtlety of the different elements of the dish need some sort of counterbalancing kick and IMO the caviar would have provided this.
The biggest surprise is that the photo in the book doesn't match the plating instructions in the recipe and the portions are TINY. There are just 2 scallops per portion served in a (smaller than) 2" (5cm) ring mould which leaves just enough surface to place one scallop on top - if you're lucky! - whereas the recipe calls for the scallops to be cut into 3 discs each. So there are hiccups on that front (and I met the same type of hiccup in another recipe) which is annoying but quickly sorted by re-portioning (if you have enough to start with) and re-plating.
That said, I had great fun making all the elements of this dish and I learned a lot at the same time. There are elements I will use again and again in the future.
Edited by Belgian Blue, 22 April 2012 - 04:14 AM.