Dave Beran of Next is this week's Key Ingredient subject at the Reader, working with cashew apples, and by coincidence the video was shot the same day the announcement of the upcoming season for Next went out. What he told us about it that day was posted here, but the video offers a few more glimpses of what guests will be experiencing next year starting with some of the new tableware that has been commissioned for The Hunt; the dish is plated on handmade, rustically-unfinished-looking porcelain plates which were coming in even as we interviewed him. He also uses some of the new ingredients they've been experimenting with, including purple sweet potatoes (which had previously been used in the "campfire" dish in the Childhood menu; Beran likes their more solid texture than conventional orange sweet potatoes) and herbs such as micro sorrel. But he's also thinking about adding something else you'll see in the challenge.
Beran was the rare Key Ingredient subject who was smitten by his challenge, cashew apples, and he says that if he can find a supplier for fresh ones, they might make their way onto the Vegan menu this spring and summer. In fact, only a few minor alterations might make his Key Ingredient dish (a dessert with candied cashews, cashew apple and cashew apple syrup, brown butter and creme fraiche) work for that menu: "If you look at the dish and the components, brown butter is not necessary, you could sub out a nut oil, or olive oil, and for the creme fraiche you could just sub out an olive oil jam," says Beran. "It's just the viscosity and the fat you're looking for. Creme fraiche has a nice acidity, but so does the cashew apple. As long as it's balanced and has the palate-coating aspect [to hold the flavor of the fruit on your tongue], any fat will work. It could easily be vegan; it wouldn't take long.
Read the piece here at the Reader, and watch the video below.