Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
As I was trying to come up with an idea for dinner – I came across a menu item at Nobu London: Black Cod Karaage With Spicy Ponzu (an online picture of the dish can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedesco57/4293692358 ). The dish components was effectively, coated crisp fried fish with momiji oroshi, minced scallions and ponzu (remember that ponzu is basically 1:2:4 parts yuzu juice, soy, rice vinegar). This dish is basically the Roasted Toro Collar Steak in Nobu West (p. 136), and I thought, “I can do that!”. Just had to make the momiji oroshi, mince some scallions, make a little ponzu and fry some coated fish. Since ‘fresh’
black cod isn’t easy to come by in the Boston area, I went to my general substitute, chilean seabass. Actually, if I had my way, I’d like to use black cod more often. As the vegetable side to this dish, I decided to do a simple roasted asparagus stalks underneath the fish.
So when I went to the store, I got about a pound of the chilean seabass, portioned it out and put it in
a ‘shake and bake’ with a six tablespoons of flour and 1 teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix. I shook the
bag until the fillets were decently coated. While the asparagus were roasting for 7 minutes at about
400 degrees, I began frying the coated fish in my medium wok with some rice oil. With ‘kara age’,
you technically have to deep fry the coated fish; but I felt I could achieve a similar effect by simply frying it in about 1/4″ – 1/2″ of oil and then turning the fish over to cook on the other side (similar to
how I prepare monkfish/shrimp pieces for the Nobu Hong Kong dish with the tamari sichuan soy dish). I started with the heat on high, placed the fish in skin side down and then turned the heat down to 75% max power. Keeping a watchful eye on the fish, I turned it over on all sides to make sure it was “GB and D” (as Chef Ming Tsai likes to say) and cooked it for about a total of 8 minutes to make sure it was cooked through (because of the fattiness of black cod and chilean seabass, they are fairly tolerant of slightly longer cooking times). So by the time the fish was done, the asparagus was already done as well. So I moved a portion of the asparagus to the plate to serve as a bed for the fish and then topped it with karaage fillet. To one side, I portioned off a bit of the minced scallion green and next to it I placed a quenelle of the momiji oroshi. Served along with the finished plate was a sauce dish with about 3 tablespoons of the ponzu to which you could put as much or as little of the scallion and/or the momiji oroshi.
My wife was surprised how well the dish turned out and how crisp the fried crust around the fish was. As Matsuhisa-sama once said – I’m driven…to…satisfy my customers and to hear them say that they have enjoyed an excellent meal. Thank you Matsuhisa-sama, I guess your dish from Nobu London made my wife very happy for dinner tonight!