The Art of Darkness

Edible Dirt

August 19th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Edible DirtEdible “dirt” in the form of crumbled cake or cookies is a staple of Halloween parties; here’s a really cool way to expand into savory dishes.

Merlin and Rebecca dined at famed Copenhagen restaurant Noma and were told, “Your next course is in the flower pot.”

Noma is almost mythic at this point. Do the chefs really forage ingredients from parks and shores around Copenhagen? Yes. Do they actually make you eat dirt? Well, kind of. The ‘edible dirt’ filled flower pot, from which perfect carrots and radishes are messily unearthed by hand, is one of Noma’s signature dishes. So, we decided to create our own version as an homage to Noma and New Nordic Cuisine. Everything in that flower pot is edible.

They detail their attempt to recreate the dish here. Noma serves the dirt “planted” with little carrots and radishes which are pulled out by their greens. Merlin and Rebecca couldn’t find vegetables with their greens still attached, so they decided to substitute fingerling potatoes and use chives to represent stems. The (clean, obviously) flowerpots were filled with a layer of thick yogurt flavored with chopped herbs, the potatoes and chives were pressed into the yogurt, then the dirt was layered on top. Diners “harvest” the potatoes by digging them out of the flowerpots; the dirt sticks to the yogurt and is eaten along with the potatoes.

They don’t include an actual recipe, noting vaguely that the recipe is available through “a quick Google search.” I finally found Chef RenĂ© Redzepi’s original recipe on the fourth page of Google’s results; it’s a bit weird and fiddly and requires “malt flour,” which seems to be diastatic malt powder. If you do a lot of baking you may have some of this in your kitchen; otherwise it can be mail-ordered (or you may be able to purchase a little from your local bakery).

If that seems like too much work, I also unearthed (har!) a recipe that uses more ingredients but are all things that you should be able to find in a well-stocked grocery store. It appears to originally be from Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine:

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