Iconic restaurants never die. One of them is Jamin, which I once had the chance to visit while attending cooking school in Paris. At the time, Joel Robuchon’s Jamin was recognized as one of the best restaurant in the world, and one of the most feared kitchen to enter. I remember some dishes from this short visit like a chicken liver mousse with chicken consommé custard, I remember crisp rouget fillets were served with crispy basil and tomato concassé, pigeon cooked with foie-gras, and of course the world’s best mashed potatoes. I remember the atmosphere of doom and genius in the kitchen, also. A langoustine wrapped in a spaghetti ‘turban’ and white truffles was so incredible to look at that I took a mental picture that I kept until now.
Later that same year, Robuchon announced his retirement and closed Jamin, disappeared for a few years before going through a culinary “rebirth” with his Atelier franchise that’s now famous all around the world. Do you remember when we got to meet him at L’atelier in New York? It’s still restaurant Jamin, to this day, that’s remembered by many as one of the cornerstone to modern dining for its incredible precision.
I was cleaning my kitchen tool box the other day and came across some individual savarin mold. The same kind used to build the spaghetti turbans. Once neatly lined with cooked spaghetti and chilled, the molds are filled with langoustines and a shellfish mousse, and gently steamed. I updated the recipe a little and made a shellfish consommé with the langoustines heads and shells and a boost of umami with some grated bottarga. Mr Robuchon served his Turban de langoustines with a creamy langoustine sauce with hints of Pernod and fennel and white truffles. Can’t go wrong either way.
Turbans of Langoustines with Shellfish Consommé & Bottarga
- Serves 6
For the turbans of langoustines:
- butter, softened
- 4 ounces spaghetti
- 12 langoustines, shelled (reserve heads and shells)
- espelette pepper
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the langoustine consommé:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- langoustine heads and shells
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled & sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon mirin, or to taste
- 2 egg whites
- micro green
- grated bottarga
For the turbans of langoustines:
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water, drain and refresh with cold running water. Generously butter 6 individual savarin molds. Refrigerate until the butter is firm.
- Take a single strand of spaghetti. Begin at the bottom of the mold, tightly wind the spaghetti around the center tube, take another strand of spaghetti and continue working your way to the top. Then begin again at the bottom and work in the other direction winding the spaghetti strands toward the top of the outer edge. Repeat until each mold is lined with a single concentric layer of spaghetti. Chill the lined molds in the refrigerator.
- Shell the langoustine tails and remove the vein. Place 6 of the langoustines in the bowl of a food processor and season with salt and espelette pepper. Add the heavy cream and process to a smooth and fluffy paste. Keep the mixture cold if not using right away. Split the 6 remaining langoustines in half.
- Fill the prepared savarin molds with the langoustine mousse and tuck two halves of the remaining langoustines in the mousse, top with more mousse and smooth the top.
- Prepare a steamer and set over medium-low heat.
For the consommé:
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and add the heads and shells from the langoustines, a pinch of salt and roast for 10 minutes, crushing the shells with a rolling pin. Add the shallots, carrot, ginger and garlic and cook until softened, 2 or 3 minutes more. Deglaze with sake and bring to a boil to burn the alcohol. Add water to just cover the shells and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes while skimming impurities rising to the surface. Add the soy sauce and mirin. Check and correct seasoning.
- Strain through a thin strainer lined with a cheesecloth into a clean pot. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Beat the egg whites and add to the simmering langoustine broth. The egg whites will create a ‘raft’ on the surface and clarify the consommé. Strain the clear broth again through a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Place the spaghetti turbans in a single layer in the top of a steamer over medium-low heat and steam for 3 minutes. Unmold the langoustine turbans in 6 bowls and garnish the center with micro greens. Sprinkle with bottarga. Pour the langoustines consommé at the table.