Cold Lemon Pastis Foam

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    1 cup

    liquid; twice as much when converted into foam

Appears in

Sauces

By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

At Chez Panisse, chef Jeremiah Tower served a plate of raw oysters, each one anointed with one drop of pastis, the inspiration for this foam. This foam is very delicate, and great on seafood such as oysters or cold lobster. Pastis is the generic name for anise-flavored aperitifs such as Ricard and Pernod; any of these will do the trick.

The foam given here is emulsified with lecithin. This is a very light foam, but it can be made more or less substantial by increasing or decreasing the amount of lecithin. This foam also contains a small amount of xanthan gum to stabilize it, but it can be left out if you’re looking for a very delicate froth.

The base liquid can be virtually anything, provided it contains no fat, which would interfere with the lecithin. For seafood, mussel cooking liquid is particularly good, but court-bouillon (ideally concentrated by reduction under vacuum; works well, as do fish stock (which must be impeccably fresh) and the liquor released by oysters when they’re shucked. Reduced mushroom cooking liquid can also be used (alone or in combination with other flavorful liquids), but it lends a rather sad, muted color to the whole thing.

Ingredients

xanthan gum 0.6 g
lemon juice 3 tbsp 45 ml
pastis, such as ricard or pernod 8 to 12 drops (to taste; must be subtle)
sugar 2 tsp 10 g (or more to taste) (or more to taste)
powdered lecithin 2.5 g
flavorful liquid (see note) ¾ cup 200 ml

Method

  1. Blend the xanthan gum, lemon juice, pastis, sugar, and lecithin into the base liquid until all the ingredients dissolve. The pastis should be barely perceptible. If you can’t taste the pastis at all, add more, one drop at a time, until you just reach the taste threshold and you can barely taste it.
  2. Beat with a stand mixer, electric whisk, or balloon whisk until you see copious foam. Once the amount of foam you’re producing no longer seems to increase, stop beating. Wait a couple of minutes for the foam to settle. (Liquid will be released underneath the foam.) Serve immediately.