My wife and I take turns doing meals during the week and Thursday nights have basically become my “grill/bake” nights. So this time around I thought I’d try to do a dish that was essentially a composite of some dishes I’d been thinking about for a while. In Nobu West, there’s a parchment steamed/baked dish I’d sort of been intrigued by for about a year or two but hadn’t gotten around to trying it. The dish in question was the Steamed John Dory With Wild Garlic Leaves en Papillote (p. 150) where a packet of fish is steamed for 10-12 minutes and then the package is roasted in the oven for a minute or so at 300 degrees. The online recipe can be found here –
Additionally, I’d been intrigued by a dish described as a dashi marinated roasted seabass dish from a newspaper article –
Finally, I’d seen a dish on the Nobu Hong Kong menu that I’d wondered about – Wood Oven Sake Roasted Chilean Seabass with Sansho Salsa (see: http://www.noburestaurants.com/hong-kong/menus/dinner/hot-dishes-2/ ) with a picture from http://plainfaceangel.blogspot.com/2011/08/nobu.html (see: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6020/6003809722_6c5321c6bd.jpg ). The pictured item appeared to have a soy-based sauce in the dish which suggested I was on the right track about combining the ideas.
So, I thought I’d try to make a dashi marinated dish that was roasted, en papillote with sake, soy and butter. But how long to marinate the fish fillet? Morimoto: The New Art Of New Japanese Cooking details a dish called Kinki With Perigeux Sauce (p. 204) where he marinates the fish for an hour in konbu dashi. So I chose to marinate two fillets (one for myself and one for my wife) overnight and a day. While I could have taken the tack of simply following the Nobu West John Dory recipe, I thought I try and simplify it by doing it all in the oven and using aluminum foil as the en papillote wrapper. But how long to cook the fish in the oven and at what temperature? An online recipe described a salmon fillet baked in foil (Apr 30 2008) at 425 degrees for 15 minutes (the online recipe can be found at http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2008/04/30/whole_salmon_fillet_baked_in_foil/) .
So I began by preheating the oven to 425 degrees; while that was going on, I made a simple jalapeno/red onion salsa from Nobu (on line recipe can be found here – http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/24/dining/the-chef-nobu-matsuhisa.html ). The salsa’s just a combination of 1/4 cup of finely minced red onion, 2 teaspoons of finely minced, deseeded jalapeno and 1 1/2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and yuzu juice.
In seasoning the fish, I began the seasoning with 4:1 salt/pepper mix and continued by sprinkling shichimi togarashi on both sides of the fillets.
The seasoned fillets were then placed onto hand-shaped aluminum foil sheets. I then placed 2 teaspoons of clarified butter on top of the fillet and poured 2 T of sake and 2 T of soy into the packet. Since my wife is none too fond of cooked butter in dishes, I left the butter part of the recipe out of her portion of the dish. I then closed up the packets and ‘roasted’ the fish at 425 for about 15 minutes.
When it was done, I made a bed of blanched baby bok choy, poured the cooking juices from the packet into the dish and added the fish on top of the vegetables. I finished the dish by garnishing it with the simple jalapeno salsa.
My wife and I were both surprised how well the dish turned out. I think it’s safe to say that the overnight dashi marinating process certainly added a lot of umami to the dish (much like the news article cited earlier in this writeup). My wife indicated that this dish might have just become her favorite ‘steamed/roasted’ fish preparation. In retrospect, I think the only thing I would change is to use about 4 tablespoons of the cooking juices from the packet instead of pouring in all the cooking juices from the packet onto the serving plate.