Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was intrigued by Nobu’s concept of “daikon foie gras” in his book Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook, p. 58 . Matsuhisa-sama does comment that the dish was inspired by the chinese pan fried ‘daikon cake’ (aka “luo bo gao”). Unfortunately, it’s not clear from the recipe how much grated daikon to use – and therein lies the challenge. The only thing that’s mentioned in recipe is that the slice of daikon involved is 2″ thick – but what’s the diameter of that slice? The sauce itself is pretty straightfoward – it echoes the sauce from the Fresh Water Eel And Foie Gras dish in Nobu: The Cookbook. The sauce is 1 tablespoon+2 teaspoons of soy, 6 tablespoons of sake, 3 tablespoons of mirin and a little truffle oil (compare that to the 1:3 ratio of soy to mirin used the Eel/Foie Gras dish). The recipe calls for 30g of potato flour, which should come out to about 3 tablespoons of potato flour.
So since the original Fresh Water Eel And Foie Gras dish contained a daikon component – I thought – why not merge the daikon and foie gras component and create a varaint, Chilean Seabass And Daikon Faux Gras With Truffle Mirin Soy? To make the faux gras, I went ahead and cut a 2″ thick
slice of daikon that had a 2 1/2″ diameter and that weighed in at about 6 1/2 oz.
As instructed, I grated the peeled daikon slice and squeezed out the liquid in a fine mesh strainer.
The grated daikon was seasoned with about 2 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper and then had ~30 g of potato flour (that came to about 4 tablespoons) added to it. It was all mixed/kneaded together
and formed into 2 equal patties. Both patties had to be steam-cooked in a heatproof dish, uncovered in
a steamer for about 7-8 minutes (presumably high heat).
At this point, I got out my small frying pan, got it good and hot and added some Lucini extra virgin olive oil and got the heat down to about 75% max power. I added the daikon patties to sear them as
you would luo bo gao and cooked them for about 2-2 1/2 minutes a side, checking to make sure they
seared properly. Once that was done I transferred them out the pan, wiped out the pan so that it was
nice and clean and poured in the daikon sauce to reduce. When the reduction thickened, I added
the daikon faux gras patties in to the sauce to coat with the glaze. One comment should be made here: The original recipe from Nobu’s book calls for adding in the truffle oil at this point. But since I was going to use the daikon faux gras in place of the real foie gras for the chilean seabass variant of Fresh Water Eel And Foie Gras, I held off – the sauce for the Eel/Foie dish also called for the truffle oil.
So while the I was doing the daikon faux gras, I prepared and seasoned some chilean seabass and popped that into a 475 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Once the fish was done, I placed the fish onto serving plates and placed the daikon faux gras on top. I reduced a sauce of 2 tablespoons of soy and 6 tablespoons of mirin, added a little truffle oil and then spooned that sauce over the faux gras and fish. While the main sauce was reducing, I broiled two split anaheim peppers just until they blistered and garnished the plates with the pepper halves.
In trying the dish, I started by getting into the daikon faux/foie gras. It was sort of like the luo bo
gao I was expecting; biting into it reminded me a little of a very soft (still a touch chewy) mochi in texture. Both my wife and I enjoyed the dish. I was still sort of expecting the fatty softness as when you bite into real foie (which I didn’t quite get). I think that when I do the daikon faux gras again, I might either (1) increase the amount of grated daikon or (2) lower the amount of potato flour. Perhaps that way, I’ll get that textured ‘pop!’ when I bite into the faux gras (like well seared foie gras), followed by the expectant softness inside. All in all, I thought this was a fun dish to do and I fully expect to do it again in the near future.