Monday, May 17, 2010

Deconstructing the cheese stick

This weekend I wanted cheese sticks. But, I didn't want to invest the effort in making my own from scratch. I also wouldn't settle for a restaurant or, perish the thought, frozen variety. So, I opted to deconstruct.

Deconstruction in cooking is when a recipe is broken down into its main components then reassembled to form something different, but the same. I've always been fascinated by this particular technique. I'm sure this means I would have made a great scientist had I not chosen to pursue an education in the lucrative field of English literature. 

Taking my cues from the Food Network's 50 Things to Make With a Jar of Pasta Sauce, I assembled my "cheese stick" by cutting the top off a small wheel of surface-ripened Quebec cheese, topping it with homemade marinara sauce and bread crumbs seasoned with Italian herbs and parsley, and baking it at 350° for 10 min.

It didn't stand up to the heat (as you can see from the picture above), but considering that it was going to be served with baguette, that didn't matter so much. Next time, I'll use a firmer Brie and not remove the top rind. (But what do I know, I majored in English, not structural architecture.)

But the important question is: Did it taste like a cheese stick? Damn right, it did. The flavour was unmistakable, which means that my experiment was a success.

If you want to see how the masters deconstruct, check out last year's Top Chef deconstruction elimination challenge:




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