Foams are and will always be a cool addition to any plate. A relatively simple process to transform an ingredient from ordinary to extraordinary. Foams range from lacey to dense depending on the process used. But we haven’t tackled, or even talked about hot foams. Earlier this week a customer inquired about the best way to make a hot parmesan foam. Which sounds wonderful, and relatively easy if you follow the proper steps to give the foam the best chance at life. Let’s go over all the ways we can make something like this, and most importantly what ways can we make a hot foam last.
“how can I make the best hot foams?”
Beat The Heat
The first thing you would need to do is start with a flavorful liquid. This can be just about anything, but for our sake let’s focus on a parmesan broth. Parmesan is expensive and the rinds are generally inedible. A good way to prevent wasting the rinds is to make a parmesan broth. Save up any rinds and gently simmer them in water until you have an extremely flavorful broth. Now that we have a flavorful Parmesan broth skim any fat from the top of the broth. Fat can sometimes affect foaming, more on that in a future Ask-A-Chef. Now we need to pick a foaming agent. Foam magic and polysorbate 80 are my go to ingredients. Both of these ingredients are simple to use; foam magic uses a ratio 1-2% to the total weight of the broth. Polysorbate 80 uses a ratio of 0.5%. Both ingredients can be added to a hot liquid and blended with a stick blender to create a light lacy foam. A lacy foam is similar to a “sea foam” which has large bubbles. The best thing about these foams is they are basically bullet proof. They are more stable which means they maintain their appearance for longer. But one thing we found with hot lacy foams is that it loses its heat quickly. While it may go on hot it will cool rapidly which may not be ideal. A way to improve this is to add the broth and foaming agent to a whipping siphon and charge it with N2O. This will create a dense foam which holds the temperature better. A Dense foam is similar to a light mousse with tiny bubbles. Keeping the whipping siphon in an immersion circulator or a steam table will keep it at a consistent temperature. The right network of the dense foam maintains the temperature and has a beautiful glossy appearance.
Both foam magic and polysorbate 80 are your best bets for any type of foam and the best overall results. These two ingredients can provide a great foam in any situation. The next time you are looking to spruce up a dish, add a bit of intrigue, or you find yourself with an abundance of Parmesan rinds, try a hot foam. And when you do so, follow these tips to get the best result from your recipe. Until next time, keep cooking.
Ready to get started? Check out our Spring Pea Risotto with Mushroom Foam