Eat This: Liquid olives, inspired by El Bulli, at Salero in the West Loop
One of Ferran Adria's many culinary innovations at the late El Bulli restaurant was the liquid-olive course, in which olive juice is made to resemble a real olive through a spherification process (without going into the science, think a liquid that, when submerged into a bath, separates into tiny liquid pearls, each of which develops a thin membrane to hold it together).
"The first time I tasted (the liquid olive) was at Next's El Bulli menu," said Ashlee Aubin, chef and partner at Salero in the West Loop, "and I was blown away by the pure intensity of the olive bite." Familiar with the spherification technique from his days at Alinea, Aubin decided to re-create the dish at Salero, not as part of a fixed-price menu, but as a humble, two-for-$4 appetizer. The spheres are served on spoons; each is a single-slurp, burst-in-the-mouth experience of pure olive essence.