TGRWT #3: Foamy strawberries with coriander

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Previously I had only tasted sliced strawberries with a fresh coriander leaf, just as a very basic illustration of this pairing. I must say I liked the combination, even though it’s dominated by coriander (or cilantro as it’s called in North America). But I figured that once the strawberries are processed into a dish, one would probably have to reduced the amount of coriander, so I did quite a lot of tasting as I proceeded with this combination for the third round of “They go really well together” (previous rounds: TGRWT #1, TGRWT #2). And I was surprised how well the coriander came through, even when using as little as 0.5 g! So start with a small amount of coriander if you decide to try this. Several have commented that they’re not to fond of coriander or the strawberry/coriander combo, and I wonder if this could be because they used too much coriander?

Anyway, I decided to go for a warm strawberry foam and be carefull with the amount of coriander. I started out without sugar, but found that sugar was essential for the strawberry coriander pairing (unless I would have taken it all in a savory direction like M did). Balsamico vinegar emphasizes the strawberry aroma and adds acid which I find important. If you plan to prepare this dish, I would suggest to add coriander, sugar and vinegar a little at a time, just to make sure it fits your taste.

Foamy strawberries with coriander and balsamic vinegar
200 g strawberries
0.5 g fresh coriander leaves
30 g sugar
14 g balsamic vinegar
150 g water
1 g xanthan

Make a purée of strawberries, coriander, sugar and balsamic vinegar with an immersion blender. In a separate container, mix water and xanthan using the same blender and add to the strawberry mix. Xanthan gives a viscous solution and helps retain the bubbles. The nice thing with xanthan is that it dissolves in cold liquid and requires no heating, but is stable at higher temperatures if you should want to heat the mixture. The immersion blender can be used to whip in some air, but for an even more airy texture, use an ISI whipper (many models available: cream, easy, gourmet, dessert, thermo) and charge with a cream charge (N2O). Important: you must filter out ALL the small stones from the strawberries using a cheese cloth or a towel, before transfering the mixture to the whipper, as these will clog the nozzle of the wipper (mine got clogged!). For a warm foam, heat the whipper in a water bath at 60-70 °C, but only do this if you have the ISI gourmet or thermo whippers which are designed for higher temperatures.

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Verdict: I was very satisfied and my wife liked it too! There’s a good balance between the strawberry and coriander aroma. Sugar rounds of the taste and the balsamic vinegar balances the sugar with it’s tangyness. I served the foam warm together with plain vanilla ice cream – delicious! At room temperature the sugar/acid balance was perfect according to my taste, but when served warm the foam was perhaps a little on the sweet side (which comes as no surprise as sweetness decreases when lowering the temperature).

strawberry-coriander-foam-closeup.jpg
Closeup of a larger air bubble below the surface! Who can resist to taste this?

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Filed under: flavor pairing, hydrocolloids, molecular gastronomy, recipe, TGRWT

Comments

  1. Nick Says:

    Would you think that different corrianders such as the long coriander, Vietnamese coriander and the Japanese chemotype of chameleon plant
    would have a difference in pairing taste with regards to strawberries?

  2. M. Says:

    the delfino version?

  3. m. Says:

    (…) start with a small amount of (…)

    a good advice that i will keep in mind!

  4. David Cantrell Says:

    One reason for people not liking this, no matter how much coriander they use, is genetic. Apparently some people can’t tell the difference between tasting coriander and tasting soap. I love the stuff though, so I’m going to buy some fresh strawberries on the way home and try this.

  5. Martin Lersch Says:

    Nick: Maybe, but since flavour pairings are normally based on the impact odorants, I guess that all types should work (assuming that the impact odorants are more or less similar for the different types).

    M: The coriander is home-grown and the package of seeds said ‘Confetti’. Apparently this type has a “distinctive coriander taste but with increased sweetness”. Well, to me it tasted pretty much like the conventional type (at least from what I remember – I haven’t tasted them side-by-side).

    David: That’s interesting! Do you have any references? Are you aware of other similar examples?

  6. Trig Says:

    Balsamic vinegar has been used with strawberries for years and years, and in my experience it does enhance their flavour. But didn’t adding this sharp sourness detract from the coriander flavour? When I experimented with the combination of strawberries with coriander I was scared even to use lemon, for fear of distracting the palate from the marriage of these two delicate flavours

  7. McAuliflower Says:

    I’ve enjoyed making salsa substituting strawberries for the tomatoes. In this instance, cilantro and strawberry go very well together.

    However- my experience is that coriander refers to the seed, and cilantro refers to the leafy part. (These different parts of the plant taste quite differently from one another.)

    btw- your coriander leaf looks rather dissimilar from my cilantro leaves. perhaps we aren’t talking about the same thing after all.

  8. Evelin Says:

    Wonderful and simple! I love the idea of using balsamic vinegar. I hope to have enough money soon to buy a new bottle of it, because the cheaper one I have now is absolutely no good… But I agree – adding balsamico does make strawberries better.

    The question of whether both the seeds and and leaves of coriander are truly suitable for our combination has crossed my mind repeatedly. They do taste different. And although I’ve tried both of them with strawberries and liked both combinations, I’m still a bit puzzled… I wonder – what has science to say about this?

  9. eric bernhard Says:

    hi martin, great site!

    i was wondering if you know the difference between the isi gourment and professional chargers? i’m planning on buying one but wasn’t sure if there is a huge difference. Thanks, eric

  10. Martin Lersch Says:

    eric,

    I guess you’re referring to the whipper/canister and not the chargers (ie. refill cartridges). From what I know the groumet/professional ones are more durable (= stainless steel so it’s dishwasher safe, O-rings are also more durable) and they can be heated in a bain marie (= they withstand a higher pressure). The cheaper ones are not designed for warm preparations.

  11. Paul Says:

    How stable is the foam? How long before a meal can it be prepared and does refrigeration help? I imagine it would make it more viscous and therefore more stable.

  12. Martin Lersch Says:

    Paul: The stability will depend on the exact amount of xanthan. I would wait until serving with dispensing it from the iSi whipper (I did anyway because I served it warm). Tthe viscosity of xanthan solutions is independent of temperature.