If you’re an oyster purist and only ever want to eat them naked, then please go away. If you’re less rigid and also enjoy them with a splash of red wine vinegar and some chopped shallots, this might be something for you. When I first read about the idea of serving fresh oysters with kimchi consommé (on Momofuku for 2) I knew I had to try it. It just sounds brilliant and besides that, dead-easy to make at home. I was already familiar with the process of clarifying through ice filtration, so when we were having left-over kimchi the other day I knew what to do.
I couldn’t find the exact recipe online and because I read somebody (Ulterior Epicure) was disappointed by the weakness of the brine I decided to add as little water as possible. Just enough to dissolve the gelatin. So this is what I did (before I discovered Chang uses more like a chickenstock than just plain kimchi, ha! But I’m not sorry, because I think it works anyway):
400g mat kimchi
1T clear rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
Combine the kimchi, rice wine vinegar and sugar into a liquidizer. Puree as smooth as possible. Measure to see how much milliliter of liquid you have. Take about half of the required gelatin sheets needed to make a pudding/jelly of this amount of liquid. (half is enough because you don’t need it to really set like a pudding) Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water, squeeze them and dissolve into a tiny bit of hot water (50ml?) in a small saucepan. Whisk this into the kimchi-liquid. Freeze it.
Then about 2 days before you need the consommé, take it out of the freezer. Hang a colander/sieve in a bowl and line it with cheesecloth/muslin. (a clean handkerchief will do too) Add the frozen kimchi and place it in your refrigerator or a cool place. Wait for a day or two and voilà: perfectly clear, beautiful consommé. (not much though! I think I ended up with about 100ml or 150ml)
The consommé tasted really lovely, like the essence of kimchi. And it does go really well with fresh oyster, like red wine vinegar. I think it’s a brilliant idea, but now I discovered another dish using this kimchi consommé: a bowl of warm kimchi consommé with braised pork belly, oyster and wilted greens. That’s next on my list and I expect it to be even better!