Deep Dish Espuma plus Pizza Foam?
Lemon Basil Soda with “Tomato as a Fruit” Foam?
By Chef Louisa Chu
Louisa Chu is a food consultant, food journalist, and one one of the iSi Culinary Ambassadors. Louisa hosts Chewing the Fat, the WBEZ podcast on food. For contact information, go to louisachu.com.
Trust us, we’re professionals. We being award-winning mixologist Cristiana DeLucca, Team iSi and me. We’ll serve this menu and more at the National Restaurant Association show, starting Saturday in Chicago.
We’re challenged with serving food and drink at a show, an industry event attended by some of the best chefs from around the world, including Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, but also the biggest brands in the food business. How do we demonstrate what we can do in one delicious bite and one delightful sip?
One of the iconic dishes of Chicago is our unique pizza. My favorite is made only at one restaurant: Burt’s Place. You may have seen Anthony Bourdain eat there, when I took him to visit my friend and pizza master Burt Katz.
Deep Dish, my take on our hometown’s divisive pizza, will be crunchy foccacia bits, torn mozzarella, onion microgreens, fruity olive oil, seasoned by smoked salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a fresh schpritz of lemon, then finished with the Tomato Hollandaise from the iSi cookbook, A Culinary Journey.
The Tomato Hollandaise was created by the Michelin starred German chef Andreas Schweiger. His variation of the classic sauce does use yolks and butter, but he adds tomato purée, lending intense flavor, preserved for any season.
The rich yolks, silky butter, and tangy tomato echo the Italian method of cracking an egg over a pizza right before it’s slipped into a wood-fired oven. Cooked until the crust bubbles and nearly blackens, while the white barely sets. It’s a very different pizza from deep dish, which some say isn’t pizza at all, yet both are correctly eaten with knife and fork. While devising the show’s menu I thought this would elevate a familiar favorite for finer dining.
But what about fast food? Espumas are one thing, but what about the weird? Here I was inspired not only by chefs but a bit of magic. Every year the restaurant show wraps just as what’s now called Sweets & Snacks Expo, aka the Candy Show, kicks off. The Jelly Belly booth always offers their Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor and Bamboozled beans, with everything from Sausage to Moldy Cheese jelly beans.
So while Deep Dish Espuma is lovely, the Pizza Foam may be something else. I take the cookbook’s Parmesan Cheese Fondant, by chef Darren Ong of Singapore, then spike it with Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pizzazz by my friends at The Spice House. It may be weird but practical too. One day for lunch I grabbed a slice, then the ubiquitous shakers of cheese, oregano, and crushed red peppers to shower them furiously. What if we could capture all that’s lost, and occasionally accidentally inhaled, in a fun pizza foam?
Our menu will change daily, all full of flavor, evocative and provocative, but above all, delicious and delightful, we hope.
Cristiana and I have worked together with iSi before. She prefers to pair from my food menu, but how does she do it? More on mixology next time.