If you've ever experienced haute cuisine or watched an episode of Top Chef, you know that many high-class chefs talk a lot about the "combination of flavors." Many experienced culinary artists challenge themselves by deconstructing those flavors and then trying to recreate their effect.
For example, what is it about a Chicago-style dog that tastes so good? A chef can break apart the components of the dish in an attempt to discover what flavors and textures are working together: bread, a combination of meat and fat, and various condiments that represent sweet, bitter, salty, and acidic flavors. He/She can then try to recreate the overall experience of the original dish with new ingredients.
Chicago has its fair share of experimental chefs, including Homaro Cantu of Moto and Grant Achatz of Alinea. So why has no one taken on the plethora of tastes and consistencies that is the Chicago hot dog?
Helen Rosner of MenuPages Blog asked the same thing a couple weeks ago and half-jokingly issued a challenge to Chicago chefs. Phillip Foss of Lockwood in the Palmer House Hilton stepped up to the plate though and offered his deconstructed take on the Windy City dog:
"Diced lobster folded into a scallop mousse, seasoned with smoked paprika, cayenne, and tarragon; rolled it in plastic wrap the size of a hot dog, then slow poached it at 140 degrees. It is then removed from the plastic and grilled," he wrote in his blog, The Pickled Tongue.
"Not wanting to use mustard, instead I made a saffron-ginger beurre blanc to give it a similarly bright yellow color." In case you're wondering, beurre blanc is a rich butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine.
"The rest is pretty basic – peeled pear tomatoes instead of the tomato wedges
Brunoise of sweated leeks instead of onions
Green pepper curls
Foss does admit that he forgot the poppy seed, but he is definitely commended for taking on the challenge. His creation isn't yet on the menu at Lockwood, but he says, "Stay tuned… this dog may also see it's day (pun intended)."