I know, I know - you're probably thinking "foams are so over," regardless which side of the molecular gastronomy fence you sit on. If you're a fan of the strange powders and physical state changes of food, you might be saying "C'mon, everybody knows that espuma is the new foam!" Yeah, right - and aire is the new espuma. They're all pretty much the same thing, and you've got to be bullshitting yourself if you think that Adrià and his ilk don't know this already. If you're convinced that all this stuff is mumbo jumbo designed to take away from traditional technique, then fine. I don't particularly care either way. I made a foam that wasn't really a foam ... or was it?
I was bored tonight when I was about to make supper for myself. Yesterday I got a whole bunch of free samples from National Starch, but I haven't really been able to do anything with them since I've left them sitting in my office. (I did try to mix some tapioca maltodextrin with some yogurt at my desk and I ended up making a small mess. Oops.) So there I was, getting hungry, when I decided to make myself some baked eggs to put on a sandwich. "What else should I put on it?" I thought. A few tomatoes sat in a bowl, teetering on the brink of potential rottenness. They glared up at me in desperation. Feeling their need for my mercy, I decided to make some sort of sauce to go on the sandwich. I needed to practice my blanch-shock-peel technique anyhow.
After giving the tomatoes their spa treatment, I put them in a container with a little oil and some salt and ground chipotle and swirled it around using my immersion blender. The tomatoes seemed happier, if not a little lonely. I thought they could use some company, so I slowly added a little bit of flour and blended it together. Seeing bubbles start to form, I worked some more air in and added more flour ever so gradually until I got my first touch of foam. I'd done it - improvisationally, no less! It went well with the sandwich, and I had a bunch left over, so I grabbed a few things out of the refrigerator and came up with:
"Toasted Cheese and Tomato Soup"
Using some cocktail rye that a colleague had brought over for a dinner party I had a few weeks ago and fantastic Dubliner Cheese, I came up with a nice way to finish off the remnants. I could have used a smidgen more cheese as, somewhat surprisingly, the tomato foam really overpowered it. Not bad for something done out for boredom, huh?