I recently had dinner at Legal Seafoods, Chestnut Hill (14 Oct 2011). For my entree, I selected the bluefish with their signature mustard sauce. It was a nice meal, but my entree seemed to lack the bold flavor punch that I was expecting (that flavor expectation was from the ‘mustard’ in the sauce description). Since I had The New Legal Seafood Cookbook in my library, I decided to look up the sauce recipe (p.99). A microbatch version of the sauce consists of –
Legal Seafoods Mustard Sauce For Bluefish (microbatch)
4 tablespoons mayo
4 teaspoons mustard
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
hot pepper sauce
The combination of the mayo and the mustard, heated, made me think of Nobu’s spicy creamy sauce application to scallops. Back in 29 Dec 2007, I got a chance to talk with Matsuhisa-sama during an omakase meal. Since he has restaurants in NY, I asked him how he’d handle a strongly flavored local fish such as bluefish. Matsuhisa-sama suggested either a sake-steamed preparation with sake soy and new style oil or broiled/grilled preparation with creamy spicy sauce. So based on the Legal Seafood mustard sauce, I thought I’d follow up on Chef Matsuhisa’s comment from Nobu: The Cookbook about adding finely chopped onion which would add volume to a ‘dynamite’ version creamy spicy sauce. Matsuhisa’s own quote online regarding the matter can be found here –
In a previous write up, I had determined that a microbatch of Nobu’s creamy spicy sauce would consist of –
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoons + 1/8 teaspoons mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce
(Nobu West, p.246 indicates that store bought mayonnaise can be used when making creamy spicy sauce)
In keeping with Nobu’s fondness for red onions, I decided to use finely diced red onions for the ‘dynamite’ variant. Based on the above two microbatch recipes, I estimated that I would need about 1 tablespoon of the finely minced onion for the microbatch version. So, as in the writeup on the broccoli with creamy spicy sauce, I decided to triple to microbatch yielding –
10 tablespoons+ 3/8 teaspoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons+1/4 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce
3 tablespoons of finely minced red onion
– about 14 tablespoons of sauce – 7 tablespoons per bluefish fillet.
The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook suggests broiling the fish for 6 minutes, applying the sauce and then broiling it for 2 or 3 minutes more. Legal’s recipe for Bluefish with an Almond Tomato Sauce (p. 99) suggest roasting the fish at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (or until cooked through). Nobu’s recipe for Scallops With Creamy Spicy Sauce bakes its scallops for 3 to 4 minutes at 475 degrees F, applies the creamy spicy sauce and then broils the whole thing until the topping is golden brown.
So what I chose to do was to broil the bluefish cuts for about 6 minutes, then pulled them out,
covered the fillets with 4 or 5 tablespoons each of the red onion creamy spicy sauce. I then put
them back into the broiler for about 5 minutes more. As Matsuhisa-sama had commented, the sauce on top of the fish did indeed increase in volume while broiling.
While the fish was cooking, I blanched about 12 baby carrots and then placed them onto serving plates as a ‘bed’ for the bluefish. Once the fish was done, I transferred them from the rack to the plate.
My wife was surprised how well the sauce paired with the bluefish. I was a little worried about the fish being overdone, but the creamy spicy sauce did its job in kept the fish from drying out and adding lots of flavor. I think the next time I do this dish, I’d broil the fish for about 5 minutes, add the sauce and then broil it for another 6 minutes. My wife thought that increasing the amount of minced red onion to the sauce would further improve the resulting dish.