Spice without the Heat: French Style Vadouvan Curry & Razor Clams

September 29, 2015

The challenge with curry is how much it has going on. It's a battle between heat & spices. But what if you could get all the flavors of the exquisite spices without the heat? Introducing vadouvan. Vadouvan is a French-ified curry powder, calculated to be a perfect blend of spices that express what a great curry should be, without the heat. Intro Chef Aaron Martinez's newest course features a foundation of cauliflower puree infused with vadouvan while a pool of vadouvan froth surrounds the dish. Though vadouvan has an epically long ingredient list (which includes mustard seed, cumin, clove, black cardamom, paprika, shallots, and many others) it offers a savory-sweet blast of flavor that is blissfully streamlined. Its restraint on how much each of the ingredients is used is its virtue. close up Razor clams from Maine make a bold presence in this dish along with a tartare of clam skirt and belly. With a long shell shaped like a straight razor these clams are not easy to catch. They are incredibly fast swimmers and super talented burrowers. As harvesting is so difficult, having them at Intro is a treat as they are rare at the market. Sweet and tender they work beautifully with the other components of the dish. The sauce is a mussel and seaweed stock infused with lovage, corriander and butter. broth The white cauliflower is whole roasted with brown butter while the green Romanesco cauliflower is blanched and dressed in lemon vinegar. The dish is topped with a “vierge” of lovage, meyer lemon zest and dehydrated cauliflower chips. cauli The Vadouvan Curry & Razor Clams course is finished with a meyer lemon confit, corriander blossoms and lambs quarter. Once you receive the course at the table, take some time to smell the spices. At first it is a tad smokey, the result of toasting the spices before blending them together. Overall the aroma is like entering a spice market, complex but welcoming.