I recently saw an offering from Iron Chef Michiba which could be best described as wagyu beef, lotus root (aka renkon), snow peas with arima sansho in sukiyaki sauce. An online translation of the offering can be found here:
and the video of Iron Chef Michiba making the dish can be found here –
At this point I started thinking, “I’d really like to try and make this dish at home”. But the sticking point was how to get the arima sansho pepper? After a bit more research, I tended to concur with an eGullet Forum entry that what I was looking for was the arima sansho berries simmered in sake, sugar and soy (http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/107390-arima-pepper/). A picture of the product was posted along with the forum entry – http://item.rakuten.co.jp/gurumeya/291610 – and it shows the product container with a pile of the sansho pepper berries extracted from the jar. The color of the berries looked remarkably like the berries used in Iron Chef Michiba’s dish. (Most sansho pepper I’ve seen is of the powdered variety from S&B).
A bit more research led me to http://www.nasales.com/food/index.php which offered the product (listed as arima sansho shoyu zuke, item #08318 – the product name literally translates to “arima sansho, soy marinated”). Upon a few phone calls, N.A. Sales Co pointed me to Mutual Trading Co with an office in Newton, MA (617 469-8312)! In turn, they told me that I should call Sakanaya, Allston (http://sakanayaboston.com, 617-254-0009) and ask THEM to order the product for me for purchase. So I gave owner Yoshi Kawamura a call, and he let me know he could have it for me this Saturday
If this really was the item I was looking for, it made me think of the possibility of reproducing a version of the American Mishima Ribeye with the sansho pepper reduction course I had as part of my tasting menu dinner at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room, San Francisco before it became Parallel 37. It should be noted that Parallel 37 apparently continues to offer that dish as “MASAMI BEEF RIBEYE, yukon gold potatoes, king trumpet mushroom, cipollini onion, sancho pepper reduction”. Saveur has a recipe for the Hitching Post’s flank steak dish that uses a demi glace/szechuan peppercorn reduction, so I thought I could take my lead from that recipe (see online at: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Flat-Iron-Steak ) to try and replicate the Chef Ron Siegel’s “sancho pepper reduction”.
More to come once I get my hands on the arima sansho shoyu zuke…