On a slow night most cooks would catch up on prep or clean areas of the kitchen that dont get regular attention, but some days, for no apparent reason, we go straight to option 3....playing with the deep fryer.
The deep fryer is the most entertaining piece of equipment in a kitchen. Not many tools can compete with a container of consistently hot oil with baskets ready to fry anything that comes its way. But the beauty of the deep fryer is in the differing outcomes depending on what you put in there.
It started with an egg. None of us in the kitchen that night had deep fried a whole egg in its shell. We didn't know what to expect, but obviously, we figured it would blow up. We bounced around our theories and argued about the outcome. Some of us took cover, and others, meaning myself, stayed close by to keep watch on the fryer. All three of us stood there, trying not to look too suspicious in front of the surrounding customers.
We waited....and waited... until clearly this egg was not going to blow up.
So much for that one.
On to the next.
I whipped up a quick tempura batter and we began frying every little tid bit in the kitchen. Chorizo, salami's, gherkins, and even sour keys (our go-to protein when were hungry). None of the outcomes warranted new menu changes, but its times like these where new ideas and new techniques are created. I bet you many things you might eat at El Bulli are created by days like these.
Next stupid thing on the list was the veal brains. We were soaking the brains last night for the ravioli's we are making today. I decided to cut a small piece off and offer it to my dishwasher, labelled veal brain sashimi. It was meant as a joke, i wasn't sure i was going to let him eat it, but i definately wanted to see if he'd do it. He passed on the raw state, so i offered him ceviche. A little marinate of lemon juice and brunoise. I gave it to him and told him to give it about 5 minutes before eating. Tom's a special boy, he'll pretty much do anything you tell him. The ceviche looked appetizing to him, i knew he was going to eat it.
I've never heard of eating raw or quickly marinated brains before, especially not calf's. I quickly thought of the possible outcomes and decided as a responsible restaurant owner, i wasn't being too responsible. When he wasn't looking, i grabbed the little bowl of marinating brains and walked back to the kitchen.
Confronted with my two cooks who were hoping for a much more entertaining outcome, i only had one choice and that was to eat it myself. I split it in 1/2 and scooped the first bit in a spoon and i downed it without chewing with the assumption, that if i dont chew it i will have a better chance of not getting sick. Realizing my silly assumption and the fact that whatever would happen was going to happen, i was ready to really taste the raw brains. I took the second 1/2 and placed it on my tongue, i squished and chewed and swallowed. It had a very delicate texture, almost like a scallop but with less bite and chew. When i think about it now, it was a delicacy to my senses.
Its the next morning and despite a little hang over, i feel fine.
Not sure brain ceviche would sell nor that i would even put it on the menu, but it was nice to try and another stupid night in the books.