With starchef Yves Ollech I exchange ideas and information around special parts of vegetables and fruits since my researches for the book «Leaf to Root». Yves is, together with his Co-Chef Andree Köthe, with whom he cooks in the Restaurant Essigbrätlein in Nürnberg, one of Germanys top vegetable cooks. Here, in my Blog, he will serve from time to time new recipe tips directly out of his kitchen.
When it comes to the point to cook the whole vegetable, from Leaf to Root, there is one place, which is kind of a pilgrimage site: the restaurant Essigbrätlein in Nürnberg. Andree Köthe and Yves Ollech are co-headchefs in this 2-star-location. For decades they have cooked vegetables and fruits with all their parts. With regularely fantastic creations, as I could experience more than one in the little cozy place in the center of Nürnberg in Bavaria.
What fascinates me: Also after years in the kitchen, the curiosity of the two chefs is very alive. And: To almost every question I have for special parts of vegetables, they have an answer or they have tried something out. As Andree Köthe is more in the fields to collect the veggies, Yves Ollech is more a culinary tinkerer in the kitchen. A while ago he told me about cookes grapefruit-peels. I couldn’t imagine to eat them, because they are very bitter. But I started some researchs and found out, that in a lot of Central American countries, candied grapefruit peels a a traditional recipe.
But: As I had so many other parts of veggies and fruits to try out, I forgot about them, until Yves sent me his recipe a couple of weeks ago. I tried it out and was totally surprised, what comes out of a handful of compost… The part which is used for this recipe is the white part, also called mesokarp or albedo (from white). In the german language we don’t really know an expression for this, sadly. For mesokarp recipes you have to find firm grapefruits, which have a thick peel. I often ended up with white grapefruits, as the pink ones mostly had soft, thin peels with almost no mesokarp.
First you have to peel the outer peel wih a knife or a potato peeler. Then you cut the mesokarp 6 to 8 times with a knife and peel it off. The outer peel is perfect fot a tee (for example fenneltee with fennelstem sirup, a recipe you can find here). Please always use biological fruits if you want to cook with the peel. To reduce the bitterness, Yves blanches the mesokarp. «Today twice, so the bitterness reduces even more», he wrote to me.
For Yves recipe you then cook the peels in sugarsirup with spices, until the liquid is cooked away. And how can one use it in menus? «In the cuban recipe I originally found on the internet the peels are served with ice cream», say Yves Ollech. «We use them a bit different and serve them as kind of a spicy cream, which we produce with cooked full fat cream, mixed with the grapefruit peels.»
This cream is served in «Essigbrätlein» with raw marinated char fish, with fermented carrots, some geranium leaves; underneath a carrot essence, which is seasoned with seabuckthorn and with parsley juice (see picture above). Carrots are a good partner for grapefruit peels, says Yves Ollech. «With their sweetness, they harmonize well with some bitter notes.»
SWEET GRAPEFRUIT PEELS WITH COFFEE AN VANILLA, FROM YVES OLLECH
mesokarp of 3 grapefruits
200 g cane sugar
0,5 L white wine
20 coffee beans
1 vanilla pod
Blanch the mesokarp twice, let it cool in between the two blanchings.
heat up the sugar and wine and stir, until the sugar has melted. Add mesokarp, coffee beans and vanilla pod (slashed with a knife). Cook slowly, until the liquid is gone.
In an airtight container, the grapefruit peels are storable for weeks in the fridge.
«Essigbrätlein» serves the cooked mesokarp in a cream with reduced full fat cream. See above, in the text. If you try out the recipe, please let me know, what you have created with the cooked grapefruit peels. looking forward to your ideas.