From Top Chef, Season 2
10 Meyer lemons, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
5 vanilla beans
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons powdered unflavored gelatin
12 sea urchins, spiny outer casing removed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably Kalamata
2 ounces caviar for garnish
1. In a medium saucepan, combine lemons, vanilla beans, 3 1/2 cups water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook over low heat until lemon slices become transparent. Strain mixture, reserving lemons and liquid separately.
2. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to hot lemon liquid. Stir well until gelatin is dissolved, season to taste and cool to room temperature.
3. Divide sea urchins between bowls and spoon cooled liquid over sea urchins. Set bowls aside to for gelatin to jell.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine chopped fennel, cream and fennel seed. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until fennel is completely tender and cream has thickened.
5. Transfer fennel mixture to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree until mixture is smooth. Strain liquid and discard solids. Season to taste. Transfer strained mixture to refrigerator until well chilled.
6. To serve: Spoon fennel cream over sea urchin gelatin mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and top with caviar.