It has been ashamedly a year since I wrote in this series, but better late than never. Continuing with the theme of seasonality, this piece features a late Autumnal fruit - Quince. A relative of apples and pear, quince is a versatile ingredient that is used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Smoked eel, celeriac, quince + sorrel - Brawn, London
Starting off with the savoury, quince plays the supporting role on this dish to accompany the smoked eel on centre stage. Firstly, one must commend the eel itself for its well-balanced profile, both in terms of smokiness and the level of salt that it carries. This was enhanced by the quince element, which took the form of a purée/paste, providing a smooth texture, as well as a contrasting floral sweetness to the umami eel. To finish off, an unassuming little mound of celeriac topped with a sorrel chiffonade gave further textural contrast and balance in flavour, especially with the acidity of the sorrel cutting through the rich fish oil.
Quince, goats cheese + pistachio - Carousel (Ed Smith), London
Moving on to sweet, quince takes the melodic line, featuring strongly in two parts of the dish, as a poached segment and as a sorbet. Its overarching tone is delicate, but what struck me the most was its floral qualities. Even though it was only poached in a simple sugar syrup, it carries a rose-like note to it that was subtle and elegant. Interestingly, quince and rose are actually part of the same family called the Rosaceae, which could explain this floral undertone. Adding to the texture of this piece, a nutty, buttery pistachio crumb accompanies. And to bring it all together, a finishing touch from the goats curd, providing a savoury contrast, as well as a slight tangy kick in both taste and flavour.