Roasted Chilean Seabass With Michiba Kanpon Vinaigrette

Originally, this recipe was Foie Gras Kanpon as featured in Iron Chef Michiba’s first match. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for ages since I bought a copy of Iron Chef: The Official Book a number of years ago.   But since my wife isn’t really fond of foie, I began thinking of how I could use the vinaigrette.  As commented on Michiba’s recipe, “…in Japan and America,  there is an averse reaction to anything fatty…to combat this negative image, he prepared the foie gras with ponzu sauce to give it a fresh light taste”.  Knowing that Nobu Matsuhisa had paired a soy citrus sauce with chilean seabass (Chilean Seabass And Truffles With Yuzu Soy Butter Sauce), I thought it might be interesting to pair Michiba’s sauce with the same fish, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and baked at 475 degrees F for about 10 minutes.

Translating the sauce/vinaigrette recipe from p. 33 of Iron Chef: The Official Book

3 oz ponzu
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
5 teaspoons momiji oroshi
grated ginger to taste (I use 1 teaspoon here)

For the ponzu, I follow the recipe from Nobu: The Cookbook
1 part yuzu juice
2 parts soy sauce
4 parts rice vinegar
and in this case, I use tablespoons for the part

For the momiji oroshi, I follow the recipe from Nobu West
3 parts grated daikon (drained after grating)
1 part red chili paste (I use tobanjan here)
and in this case, I use teaspoons for the part, and I double the recipe for use in the vinaigrette

In assembling the dish, I used 4 tablespoons of the ponzu/mirin/balsamic mix, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the momiji oroshi and 1/2 teaspoon of the grated ginger. After platimg the seabass and vegetables (zucchini in this case), I carefully poured the sauce into the plate.  I found that the vegetable fiber from the tobanjan, daikon and ginger was somewhat distracting in the dish.  I then remade the sauce, pressed it through a strainer, discarded the solids and then assembled a new plate.  I found the resulting dish far more palatable with the same flavors as the first version.   I do have to wonder if the momiji oroshi and the grated ginger are intended to be combined with the ponzu mix by the diner (see Tsuji’s Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art rev. ed, p. 160) at tasting time.

Update (17 Feb 2011):

While looking back at this article and the original recipe in the Iron Chef book, I got suspicious about how I converted the recipe from cc’s to oz’s and tablespoons etc.  I recalculated a couple of measurements and discovered that the recipe should have been:

13 tablespoons+1.5 teaspoons ponzu
3 tablepoons+1 teaspoon of daikon oroshi

…and translating that back to how I initially translated the recipe (microbatch version), the result would be:

~7 tablespoons ponzu
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons momiji oroshi
grated ginger to taste (I use 1 teaspoon here)

…and that made more sense relative to the amount of vinaigrette liquid v solids

Update (18 Feb 2011):

I think the recipe needs to fine-tuned once more.  My wife commented that she found the dressing a tiny bit on the tart side, though she liked the Nobu version of ponzu.  So I think I’ll drop 1 tablespoon of the rice vinegar.

Update (12 Sep 2014):

I came across an entry from Michiba-sama of an updated version of his kanpon dish that can be found here:

http://www.michiba-shunsara.jp/menu/sz047.html

Apparently, he is now adding  garlic to his version of the vinaigrette, and according to Chef Ming Tsai who went to visit him, he’s now using ginger juice instead of grated ginger

Update (17 Feb 2016)

So there is now a video of Michiba making a variant of his kanpon vinaigrette using mirin, ponzu, grated garlic, and the ginger juice. (see: http://www.michiba-shunsara.jp/mov/ – watch from time index: 12:15 through time index: 12:37). The recipe for the ‘dressing’ variant can be found here (missing the addition of the mirin): https://www.ming.com/food-and-wine/recipes/simply-ming-season-11/buri-offal-salad.htm

liquid components for the kanpon vinaigrette

liquid components for the kanpon vinaigrette

So the dressing I finally settled on was:

7 T ponzu (1 T yuzu or lemon juice, 2 T soy, 3 T rice vinegar, 1 T water)
1 T mirin
2 t balsamic vinegar
1/4 c ginger juice
1 t grated garlic
1 1/2 t grated daikon (water squeezed out)
1/2 t chili garlic paste

It’s interesting to note that the dressing from Ming Tsai’s website, less the sesame paste was:

1/2 cup ponzu
1/4 cup ginger juice
1/2 tsp Chinese chili paste (ra-yu), to taste
1 tsp grated garlic
(un-noted amount of mirin)

Resource

Organic Ginger Juice (“The Ginger People” brand)  – Whole Foods, Newtonville, MA

bottled ginger juice

bottled ginger juice

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