Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
My first introduction to Ron Siegel was his appearance on Iron Chef Japan. Looking at the food that he presented at the end of the lobster battle and listening to the comments being made, I thought to myself,”if it’s really that good, I really want to try his food one day”. I got that chance at his restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco, on 28 Dec 2004. It was an unforgettable meal. I returned to his restaurant to share my experience with my new wife on 9 June 2011 and made her a believer as well. Since then, the restaurant has evolved to become “Parallel 37”. Since Chef Siegel’s restaurant is in San Francisco and my wife and I live in the Boston area, it isn’t easy for us to visit that restaurant with any regularity.
I’ve been periodically finding recipe offerings from Chef Siegel to try. And recently I came across another seafood offering:
Here’s what it looks like from the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco’s own website:
It hasn’t been easy finding black cod in this area; but as Nobu commented, “I discovered…Chilean sea bass…It was an epiphany..to find another fish that retained its soft juiciness after cooking”. So I chose to substitute the black cod with the chilean sea bass. Finding tatsoi was another difficulty, so I decided to substitute quick blanched baby chingentsai (baby shanghai greens).
So in preparing to make this meal, I started out by taking a daikon and dicing it into enough small
cubes to cover the bottom of a plate. As it would turn out, for two people, that would be about ~11
oz (i’d collected 1 plate’s worth and weighed it out). For the beech mushrooms (aka bunashimeji), I
cleaned and trimmed off the roots of 1 bunch. To replace the unavailable tatsoi, I weighed out baby
shanghai green ‘tips’ – about 4 3/4 oz, which came to about 7 small greens.
At this point, I got out and rinsed 3 cleaned squid bodies and a few heads. I opened up the squid
bodies lengthwise and the cross cut them into thin strips and put them back into the refridgerator until I was ready to use them.
Now to start the actual cooking. I got a pot of water (with salt) going to blanch (first) them
daikon cubes for about 2 minutes, and then shanghai greens for about 3 minutes. While the
blanching was going on, I measured out a cup of dashi and a tablespoon of white miso from
Yamajirushi (the stuff that Nobu Matsuhisa uses). Once I got the dashi broth boiling, I lowered the temparture to medium and dissolved in the miso and then added the mushrooms to cook for about 5 minutes. I realized that what I was actually doing was making miso-poached mushrooms for
the dish (lots of umami here!). After the mushrooms were poached, I took them out of the miso broth and set them aside and began the preparations to cook the fish (about 12 oz). As is my wife’s customary preference, I cut a smaller portion of the fillet for her and then season our portions with 4:1 salt/pepper. I got my pan good and hot and added a little grapeseed oil. In went the fish to cook for about 3 minutes or so, skin side down first.
I then seared the sides and flipped the fish to cook on the last side for about another 3 minutes or so; once that was done, I moved the fish to my countertop oven to keep warm. All I had to do now was to finish the daikon and the squid. To my All Clad pan, I
added 1/2 cup of dashi to finish cooking the daikon. I didn’t think the 1/8 teaspoon was anywhere near enough as can be seen in the next picture (remember, I had 11 oz of cubed daikon to finish) –
When the daikon was done – I distributed the daikon to the serving plates, wiped out the pan and then prepared to do the squid garnish. That would take just a bit of olive oil, the squid I’d prepared earlier and the zest of about half a small lemon.
Once the squid was done, I began plating the dish that had the daikon on the bottom, followed by the miso poached beech mushrooms, and the shanghai greens. I got the fish out of the countertop oven, placed it atop the vegetables and the divided the sauteed squid on top of the fish. I finished the dish by gently pouring over 2 oz of heated dashi.
My wife loved the lightness/freshness of the dish. While we could taste each element of the dish, all flavors blended together nicely with the nice smoky counterpoint of the dashi broth. I think if there’s anything I would change might be to reduce the dashi a bit to get a slightly stronger ‘smoky’ umami presence of the dashi.