Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Night - Let's Talk Fish

So, you know I've been dreaming about how to incorporate sushi rice fried in butter into many aspects of a meal since the day I first had that revelation moment at Nishino.  I had to stop myself from thinking on a big scale to embracing the 'less is more' concept.  I mean, really, if a bite sized portion is good, wouldn't a whole large cake be even better?  I refrained.  Tonight, a couple of test cases for the sushi rice fried in butter.
Seared Teriyaki Kobe Beef with  Wasabi Flying Fish Roe and...
Otoro Sashimi with Fried Seaweed, soy and wasabi oil drizzle
And then a good back to basic, Maguro tuna poke, seaweed salad and fried wonton strips.


For the main course, a variation on a Momofuku recipe I tested out back in April.  Tonight, it is seared halibut cheeks, sauteed pea sprouts, pickled chanterelles, pickled fennel, potato and celery root puree and bacon dashi.


Though this dish has many components, you can make a few of them the day before.  
For the pickled chanterelles and fennel, you can use the same pickling juice, but pickle them in separate containers.  I like using jelly jars the best. 
1 large fennel bulb, sliced very thinly, core removed
1 cup chanterelles, cleaned well.  Go ahead and rinse them in water to make sure you get any dirt or debris off.  Cut them in half or quarters, depending on how large they are.
For the pickling liquid, combine:
1 1/2 cups super hot water
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp kosher salt
Pack the chanterelles and fennel into 2 jars and pour the liquid over them.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The chanterelles will not keep for as long as the fennel, maybe only a week, but the fennel should keep for up to a few weeks or month.


Make the bacon dashi the day before to allow it to chill completely, so you can remove the fat layer that forms on top.  Here's the recipe for bacon dashi.


The potato and celery root puree I made was done in the same way as my regular mashed potatoes but with the addition of the celery root.  Cut the outer skin off the celery root and then cut the root itself into 2" x 2" pieces.  Boil until tender.  Mash and combine with the potatoes. to proceed.  A variation for tonight, I added a new love, truffle infused honey.  Oh my!


I went to buy sea bass and came home with halibut cheeks.  I hadn't seen halibut cheeks in a while and when I asked which I should get, the response was sea bass you can get anytime, halibut cheeks are a seldom find.  True and sold! 
Rinse and clean the halibut of any impurities.  There's a small piece of thin white sinew on the base of the cheek.  Remove that with a sharp filet knife.  Dry the fish well before cooking so that you can get a good sear on it.  Season with salt and a little ground white pepper.  Use a large rimmed well seasoned saute pan to sear the halibut.  Put a little bit of oil in the pan and heat to smoking hot.  Place the fish down and press on it to make sure the entire surface gets a hard sear on it.  After a minute or so, add several tablespoons of butter into the pan.  Use enough butter so that once it's melted, you can spoon it over the top of the halibut to cook the top half.  You will have to tilt the pan and continuously spoon the butter over the halibut.  If you have to do this in batches, like I did, start over with a clean pan.  


Sublime and delicate flavors.  We'll be dreaming about all the fish tonight, but the otoro stole our hearts.  Just beautiful in every way.


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