Nobu Style Appetizers

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/matsuhisa-la/

I’ve been inspired by the tasting/tapas plate that’s been served to me during my omakase meals at Matsuhisa in LA.  So this past Thanksgiving, I thought I’d try my hand at something similar.  What I came up with was an appetizer trio of marinated salmon roe in a shot glass, tofu new style sashimi in a renge spoon, and mini Nobu nappa cabbage ‘steak’.

In regards to the nappa cabbage steak, there’s a great online writeup that can be found at:

http://www.koreanhomecooking.com/2010/06/napa-cabbage-steak.html

But because this was to serve as an appetizer, I made the cabbage steak cylinder that was half as thick as described in Nobu Now (p. 149).  So instead of a roll 4″ thick, I made it 2″ thick –

Nappa Cabbage Steak Rolls

In regards to the salmon roe caviar appetizer, I remember the offering I had at Matsuhisa had a savory soy based sauce.  The dish looked something like: http://files.kevineats.com/pics/2010/100806-Matsuhisa/DSC05425.jpg  .  Here’s another example of the offering: http://www.foodiedan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/matsuhisa_217520534-1024×682.jpg  .So I bought three containers of Echo Falls Salmon roe caviar from Whole Foods, Edgewater.

Echo Falls Salmon Roe

I followed an online reference, http://www.otamadecooking.com/en/fish/ikura-dashi-en.htm , “Ikura with Dashi Jiru Sauce” as a guide for making this appetizer offering.  Based on what was listed in that recipe, I made the marinade with:

2 oz dashi (4 tablespoons)
1 oz sake (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon regular soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce

In batches, I added a container of salmon roe to a deep fine mesh strainer and soaked it briefly in warmed dashi and shook the eggs in the strainer just until the salmon roe cleanly separated into individual eggs (as much as possible).

'Dashi blanched' salmon roe

Once that was done, I added the salmon roe to the marinade in refridgerated the whole thing, covered, overnight.

salmon roe caviar in marinade

So the next day, I cooked the cabbage rolls (2/person) and filled 1 shot glass with the marinated salmon roe caviar and placed them on a small serving plate/person.  The last thing I needed to do was to set up the tofu new style sashimi.   At Mitsuwa, Edgewater, they had packages of 6 “mini-tofu’s”.

Package of mini silken tofu (6 minis) at Mitsuwa, Edgewater, NJ

Reverse side of the mini-tofu's package

So to do this dish, I first boiled some sake (about 2 oz) to burn off the alcohol and mixed it with 2 tablespoons of soy. I made 2 teaspoons of  grated garlic and minced up some green parts of scallion.  I then used a vegetable peeler to shave some thumbnail length pieces of ginger which I then julienned as finally as possible and soaked them in water to lessen the bite of the ginger.  I used 2 blocks of the mini-tofu, each of which I halved (top to bottom).   Each tofu piece went into the renge spoon.  Like the originial Nobu new style sashimi, I dabbed each piece of tofu with a bit of the grated garlic.  On top of that, I added some of the soaked julienned ginger and then topped that with a little minced scallion greens.  The garlic would serve almost as a paste to hold the ginger and scallion in place when I poured in a little bit of the evaporate sake/soy mix to each tofu spoon.   Finally, I made a mix of 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil and heated that in a small sauce pot until just smoking.  The heated oil was immediately yanked off the heat and the hot oil mix was spooned over the garlic/ginger/scallion making each tofu spoon topping sizzle.  I placed a tofu spoon on each plate.   This is how the appetizer plate appeared to my dinner guests –

Nobu style appetizer plate completed (clockwise left to right: marinated salmon roe, new style tofu sashimi, cabbage steak rolls)

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