Meringues: Was I Dreaming?

The souffle was baked in a soup plate with a wide rim and served with a teensy plate of even teensier things on the side.  I didn’t take a picture of them, but I should have because it was these little white things that I dreamed about.  They were itsy-bitsy meringue puffs — a nice crunchy go-along for the soft souffle.  But this morning, I woke up thinking that it wasn’t just meringues in the bowl.  I think there was a little bit of whipped cream, too — just enough to coat the meringues.  Was I dreaming?  Maybe.  But now I’ve got this idea of meringue and whipped cream in my head and I’m liking it.  I don’t think I’ve seen the combination presented in just this way before, but suddenly it makes perfect sense to me and it’s the way I want to serve whipped cream with puddings.  Wouldn’t it be great with chocolate pudding?  And wouldn’t it be even greater if the meringues were spiced?  It seems a very play-aroundable idea.

The souffle was pretty straight-forward compared to this dish

encornet and broccoli salad at jadis.jpg

This was my starter, billed as a baby squid and broccoli salad, which is exactly what it was.  But what, you might ask, as I did, were those midnight-black cubes pretending to be croutons?  They were very crunchy and kind of porous.  Definitely a vegetable, but not one with a flavor so distinct that we could name it.  We assumed, correctly, that whatever the vegetable was, it had been dyed black with squid ink  In a move that struck me as amusing, the chef had started with black radish (which you would have thought would have been immediately guessable, because it’s not a wallflower vegetable, but I think we were thrown off by the color) and then tinted it an even darker shade of black with the squid ink.

Then there was this dish

 

spinach and eggs at jadis.jpg
 
This was Helene’s starter.  On the menu it said, cream of spinach, soft-boiled egg and smoked salmon, and it was truthful, but it wasn’t anything most of us would have imagined from the description.  First of all, the dish was chilled — completely unexpected when you’re having a soft-boiled egg.  But then the egg wasn’t exactly your classic soft-boiled egg: it had been cooked in an immersion circulator for 90 minutes, and so the yolk had a wonderful, almost impossibly creamy texture.  As for the white of the egg
… well, we still haven’t figured it out.  It might have been gelled.  And the creme d’epinards, or cream of spinach?  It was a jiggly gelee, All in all, a dish that, like almost everything else at Jadis, was beautiful, delicious and not at all what it seemed.

It was a surprising way to start a week that I hope will be filled with surprises.

Dorie Greenspan

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