Previously on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
So, I was in a little bit of hurry tonight (17 Nov) and needed to get dinner on the table. The night before my wife mentioned that she was in the mood for a salad as her dinner for tonight. So on the way home, I rushed to the store to get some pre-cooked lobster meat for her salad – I thought I might do Nobu’s lobster salad from Nobu: The Cookbook (p. 146) . To make her salad, I also picked up some mixed lettuce greens and some fresh shiitakes (which I would stem, score and broil [for 10 minutes]) for her dinner salad. For myself, I ended up deciding on getting fillets of branzino which I was going to pan fry and get a nice crisp skin on the fillets. In fact, Matsuhisa-sama comments that the “spicy lemon dressing tastes great with piping hot tempura” (p. 146) The key to getting that nice crisp skin on pan fried fish is to make sure that skin is good a dry before you season it and place it into a hot pan with oil. Thomas Keller advocates “squeegee’ing” the skin with the back of blade to get off as much water as possible. Chef Keller’s comment on the matter can be found online at:
I’ve seen Morimoto wipe down fish skin with a cloth. I find it perfectly fine to wipe the fish skin down with clean kitchen paper towels to achieve that end.
So while warming the lobster meat for my wife’s dish, I prepared her shiitake’s (as mentioned earlier), plated the lobster, then two good handfuls of cleaned mixed salad greens, and topped the salad with the cooked shiitakes. Once I finished the plating, I added 5 tablespoons of Nobu’s spicy lemon dressing around the salad and served –
In the meantime, I blanched a decent sized baby bok choy (split into quarters). I then got my wok good and hot and added some rice oil. To the wok, I added the branzino fillets (seasoned both sides with 4:1 salt/pepper mix) skin-side down first. After about a minute, I turned the heat down from maximum to medium (50% power) and let it cook undisturbed for about 2 more minutes. I tried to make sure the skin-side was flat against the pan. I then flipped the fish and cooked it for about another minute and took it off the heat (or as Chef Keller would remark – have the flesh side of the fish ‘kiss’ (briefly) cook the non-skin side). To plate the dish, I first added the drained blanched baby bok choy to my dish and then topped it with the fish, skin-side up. To finish the dish, I spooned into the plate about 4 tablespoons of the same spicy lemon dressing –
A nice quick satisfying meal on a very cold night.