Author : Steve Buttner

Few dishes satisfy like a classic croute du monde. A melange of shatteringly crisp technological flakes, floating in a richly flavored, savory slurry of organics, all a foil to the spirited kick and bright acidic finish of the hydrocarbon-rich rocky solids, croute du monde deservedly rests among the ranks of culinary legend.

Unfortunately, for most of us croute remains just that – a legend. Preparing a croute is a fussy process. A bit of a crapshoot. Most attempts result in either a bland, lackluster mush, or a desiccated metallic husk, radioactive and utterly devoid of those delicate organic aromatics that signify a croute’s pungent depth.

I set out to create a foolproof method to take the guesswork out of preparing croute, rethinking the standard approach. I began by carefully choosing a medium-size rocky world orbiting its star at a distance conducive to water in the liquid state. I showered the world with comets until the surface was thoroughly wet. Then I sprinkled the globe with ground organics, from an altitude sufficient to ensure light and even distribution over the entire watery surface. I set the world’s radiation flux on medium to encourage good flavor evolution, and awaited the outcome.

Results were disheartening. Tasters complained of bland flavor marred by a dull texture completely lacking croute’s signature technological snap. Not inedible, but not worthy of the moniker of “croute”.

For my second test, I prepped another medium-sized world, but this time I set the globe’s radiation flux to high for the first several million orbits, hoping thereby to jumpstart the broiling process, encouraging the organics to cook out and evolve more rapidly into a broad spectrum of flavors and textures, including, I hoped, those all-important technological flakes. Then I reset the flux to medium, and set back to wait for the results.

The outcome was even worse this time. At some point in the cooking process, quickly and unpredictably, the technological crust had overevolved and burned the croute. The one taster I could convince to try it found the croute to be charred, harsh and inedible, with no detectable organic bouquet.

My hybrid cooking method was obviously effective at encouraging the development of technological texture. But it was equally obvious that precise timing would be vital to the success of my croute. I needed an indicator. A fellow test cook helped me to come up with a cool trick.

As the organics of a world cook and evolve technology, flakes begin to spatter off. So, after choosing a third medium-sized world, I placed a smaller globe in orbit around it. This satellite would catch some of the spatters, affording me warning that the croute was nearly done.

My colleague advised me to place another medium-size rocky world in an orbit adjacent to the world I was cooking. The arrival of technological flakes on this second world would tell me the croute was fully cooked, and needed to be served immediately to avoid burning.

Finally, a croute worth waiting for! Peeling the croute from the world, a rich, earthy aroma, with its distinctive yet subtle notes engulfed me. My tasters raved about the lush, complex texture, crispy bits of technology floating in a thick sauce of organics coating the rocky solids, the bold flavor of the sauce complementing without overpowering the zesty undertone of the crust.

By following this method, you too can prepare croute du monde worthy of the name.

For added pizzaz, slather your croute on a thick slice of pan metano – see page 27,356 of the Breads book for the recipe.

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