My F&W
quick save (...)

Molecular Gastronomy at Home

Now in grocery stores, this industrial powder beloved by molecular chefs is the key to quick sauces, flawless vinaigrettes and luscious desserts.

Xanthan gum is strangely versatile: It’s essential in molecular-gastronomy kitchens and in supermarket salad dressings, too. Home cooks have discovered that it’s also helpful as a gluten substitute, so now a growing number of grocery stores have begun selling it. Turns out there are myriad ways for home cooks to use xanthan: The whitish powder, a by-product of bacterial fermentation, can thicken sauces and dressings in an instant, at any temperature. “With xanthan, you can change the texture of a liquid without changing its flavor,” explains chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth in San Francisco. He blends a very small amount of it into simple, cold sauces, like a puree of fresh herbs and water. “Without xanthan, I couldn’t make the sauce; I’d have to make an herb oil that would taste more like oil than herbs.” Chef Jesse Schenker of Recette in New York City, meanwhile, relies on xanthan to blend oil, lemon juice and water into a vinaigrette that won’t separate. Turn the page for those and other xanthan recipes, including a clever fruit meringue and a simple syrup that adds a silky texture to any cocktail.

Jason Fox’s Molecular Gastronomy Tips

Lightening Up

“I like modern ingredients like xanthan gum because they help lighten food,” says chef Jason Fox. “You get great mouthfeel and flavor without using a lot of fat.”

Measuring Tip

Use a scale that weighs in 0.1-gram increments, such as one from Ohaus, to accurately measure xanthan gum. $45; amazon.com.

Molecular Gastronomy Video Video: Modern Molecular Gastronomy

Published July 2012
You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.