The Art of Plating by Adam Reid

Adam Reid is the acclaimed chef-patron of The French in the historic Midland Hotel in Manchester. Adam is no stranger to cooking beautifully presented plates of food. He cooked the main course for the Great British Menu 2019 banquet with his winning dish ‘Comfort Food Sounds Good’. His dessert ‘Golden Empire’, also made it through to the Great British Menu banquet in 2016.

The chickpea cracker is a snack of homemade houmous on a puffed rice cracker. Every element is prepared from scratch, and the houmous has a strong flavour of garlic parsley. The cracker is made using sushi rice which we cook for a long time and dehydrate into sheets before deep-frying until it puffs up. We flavour the cracker with dried lovage powder before drying, which gives a fragrant but umami-rich flavour to the cracker. To cut through with some acidity and some sweetness, we top the chickpea with pickled red peppers which have been grilled to remove the skin, then the flesh is cooked. We finish off by seasoning the whole thing with smoked paprika to give some depth and spice. It is garnished with some baby sorrel leaves to give a citrusy kick to the snack.

Plate selection – Our plates are handmade by artisan potter Paul Mossman. For this dish, we use a millstone shape with a thick white puck and a hollowed out centre, which we fill with stones. The cracker sits on top of the stones, which gives the feel of an earthy bite – industrial but refined and in touch with its humble origins.

Crackers – Break the crackers off into 6 x 4cm pieces so they are naturally edged and give the appearance that they have been created as individual sheets.

Houmous & peppers – Pipe the houmous in one lovely dollop so that it has a smooth, clean finish, then push down the middle with the back of a spoon to make a well. This creates a vessel in which to place the pickled peppers.

Seasoning –  Season with smoked paprika, which gives a nice dusting of crimson, balanced with the vibrant green of algae powder.

Garnish – Top with two (micro) sorrel leaves for a bit of zingy freshness. Every other element of the dish is cooked or prepared so the sorrel helps balance it out.