Knowing my predilection for liquorice, some family members recently brought me box of crushed liquorice root back from Egypt. Rather than drink the infusion, I thought I’d attempt to recreate a Heston Blumenthal dish we ate at the Fat Duck 18 months ago: SALMON POACHED WITH LIQUORICE. I remembered I’d kept Blumenthal’s recipe for liquorice jelly from The Guardian in 2003 for exactly this reason. The dish we ate at the Fat Duck was garnished with chicory (without doubt the best chicory I’ve ever tasted), but The Guardian version (and the version on today’s menu at the Fat Duck) recommends pink grapefruit and asparagus alongside the salmon, as “both liquorice and asparagus contain a compound called asparagine”. I didn’t have the required agar flakes to make the all-encasing, heat-resistant gelling agent, so in the end simply grilled the salmon, but nevertheless it was terrific, even if the asparagus was from Peru and the dish looked absolutely nothing like this. My (vege-gel) jelly looks dark and mysterious in its jar though.
I now also feel like I’m one step closer to my ambition to restarting my career as a sculptor by making a grizzly bear-sized liquorice cat (I once made three life-sized marzipan pigs).