Well, I was planning on making Nobu’s Daikon ‘Foie Gras’ this weekend; but like anyone else, life had other plans for me. SO: I decided to visit a different recipe from Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook: Fried Asparagus With Red Grain-Miso Dressing. Well, I couldn’t source the akatsuba miso, but Nobu helpfully suggests the substitution regular yellow miso. So I thought I’d use the Yamajurishi shiro miso that I had in house.
While I’m not big on deep frying, I do love warm asparagus dishes. My first experience with this sort of dish was during a meal at Jody Adams’ Rialto. The dish was Warm Asparagus With Aged Gouda, Sherry Vinaigrette And Truffle Oil (see Jody Adams’ In The Hands Of A Chef, p. 80). So I thought I’d prepare the asparagus (tossed in olive oil, 4:1 salt/pepper) by roasting it about 7 minutes at 400 degrees F. To make the dressing, I noticed that Nobu only specified ‘a dab of garlic’. So I thought I’d make the amount a bit more specific by using 1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic. So the dressing for my wife and I would be:
3 tablespoons of yamjirushi shiro miso
1/2 teaspoons of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil
I’d mix together the garlic, soy, rice vinegar and then filter in the miso before adding the oil. I also thought I’d skip the sugar syrup altogether since I wanted the dressing more on the savory side.
Before preparing the asparagus, I started preheating my countertop oven to 475 degrees F. I prepared 20 stalks of asparagus by breaking off the woody stems, washing them and cutting them in half (lengthwise). I then tossed asparagus in a mixing bowl with some extra virgin olive oil and 3 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix. Once the oven was ready, I loaded the asparagus on top
of nonstick aluminum foil and popped them into the oven for 7 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Once the asparagus was done I criss-crossed 4 sets of 5 asparagus pieces and then carefully poured in 4 tablespoons of Nobu’s new garlic/soy/miso vinaigrette around the plate.
The chilean seabass fillet I got at Whole Foods, Newtonville was nice; but I had to spend a little time scaling it with my knife. Once I got past the scaling, I seasoned the pieces for my wife and I with 4:1 salt/pepper mix and then, according Nobu’s instruction, added more black pepper to the skin side of the fish. Actually, the preparation
of the fish was pretty straight forward – sear/crisp the peppered skin side of the fish and then transfer the fillets to a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes (it’s a good thing I did the asparagus first; the oven was still nice and warm. So I got a wok nice and hot and poured in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and added the fish, skin side down
and let it sear for a few minutes. Like steak, the fish would detach itself from the pan after a few moments, but I let the fish sit for at least two minutes, checking afterwards periodically for crispness.
After I was satisfied with the skin crispness of the fish, I transferred the chilean seabass to my countertop oven which had been preheated to 475 degrees F (skin side up) and then lower the oven to 400 degrees to cook for 10 minutes. While the fish was in the oven, I took some of the remaining balsamic teriyaki from the prior meal and put it on medium heat to reduce and thicken. Additionally, I got some bok choy in to some boiling water to blanch.
When everything was all done, I plated the fish, laid on some of the blanched bokchoy and then carefully added about 4 tablespoons of the sauce to dishes
While I was worried that the miso dressing might not have enough flavor spark for the asparagus, my wife thought it was just fine as it was. While she also liked the main course of the black pepper crusted chilean seabass with the balsamic teriyaki, she also agreed with me that the sauce didn’t need the extra sugar called for in the recipe.