The March of Dimes annual event was held once more in the Miami Hotel Intercontinental. This is one of the hugest charity events of the area, and there is representation from restaurants, caterers, and hotels all over the Miami area. We went through our usual outside agenda... start with a main savoury idea, then finish with pastries. This one was divided more in half this time, finishing the evening with the Mugaritz-style tower of basil bubbles to top a sweet caprese dish.
The first offering was a shrimp that was poached slowly in cocoa butter and spices. I simmered the butter with canela bark, clove, pink peppercorn, bay leaf, and cardamom pods then cooked shrimp in it. The heat was kept to that of the pilot (which stayed around 140 to 150F).
We combined the soft-textured shrimp with chewy kalamata raisins and smoked vanilla sea salt. The salt was Maldon tossed with vanilla powder and smoked over maple wood. I vacuum sealed a couple of Cobra vanilla beans in with the salt afterwards to infuse the vanilla aroma over it.
We added a saffron emulsion to give the shrimp some creaminess. It's a pretty funky combination of things, but it worked in many ways. To eat it all together you get the intensity of the shrimp while the sugar and salt fight with each other with vanilla and spice overtones and the entire thing ends with sweet olive flavor as you find yourself still chewing the kalamata raisin for a few seconds afterwards.
When most other restaurants were finishing up or running out of food, we switched over to the sweet caprese. The basil bubbles were building throughout the first half of the night stirring the curiosity of a few guests. Fabian made the dessert version of the Italian classic with a sweet mozzarells parfait, topped with a tomato marmalade, a few drops of 25 year Modena, and of course, the basil bubbles.
The bubbles were smaller and cleaner this time as Fabian had slightly increased the xanthan and egg white powder. He also strained it a bit more which probably did just as much for the great results as the added stabilizers.
Smooth event. Cool chefs. Good times.