Ron Siegel’s Sancho/Sansho Pepper Reduction

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/ritz-carlton-dining-room-sf-9-jun-2011/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/finding-arima-sansho/
https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/arima-sansho-has-arrived/

While the The Dining Room At The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco was still open, Chef Ron Siegel had an item that periodically appeared on the menu as (Arima) Sancho/Sansho (Pepper) Reduction.   Having had the Mishima Wagyu Ribeye with the sancho/sansho pepper reduction, I thought it left enough of impression that I wanted to take an opportunity to reproduce it.  As many people know by now, Chef Siegel’s last day at The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco was 19 Sep 2012 (see http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2012/09/19/today-is-ron-siegels-finale-at-the-ritz-carlton/ ) and he’s now at Michael Mina, San Francisco.  It’s interesting to note that his dish, or variant thereof, appears to have migrated to Michael Mina’s as “black angus beef rib-eye, maitake , sancho pepper, full belly farms potatoes” (see http://michaelmina.net/restaurants/menus/michael-mina-sf/10.22.12%20MMSF%20Dinner%20Menu.pdf – the menu change apppears to have taken place on 22 Oct 2012).

After looking about the web, I finally decided that the reduction was probably based on Chef Siegel’s published madeira reduction as opposed to using a boderlaise base.  An online copy of the recipe can be found at http://www.hauteliving.com/2011/01/chef-ron-siegel-3  .

The madeira reduction requires:

grapeseed oil for the Madeira sauce
1 cup Madeira wine
1 shallot (probably diced)
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp butter

The online directions indicate that, “…to make the Madeira sauce, combine Madeira wine and shallot in a pot, warm at medium heat until it is reduced to a syrup. Add the beef stock and butter and thicken…”.  I think one of the things that appears to be omitted is probably saute’ing the diced shallot in a little grapeseed oil before the addition of the madeira. But how much arima sansho to add?  Saveur suggested 1/2 teaspoon of szechuan peppercorns (crushed) with 6 oz of demi-glace (see: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Flat-Iron-Steak ) to 1 tablespoons of brined green peppercorns (drained) with 10 oz of madeira (see: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roast-Rack-of-Lamb-with-Madeira-Peppercorn-Reduction-103004 ).  Since the arima sansho I’d purchased was the tsukadani preparation, I decided it might be better to go with the technique using the brined green peppercorns.  So I opted for about 2 teaspoons of the arima sansho.

To ‘reproduce’ the sauce, there was one more issue I needed to think about: to include the use of the butter or not.  In particular, it occurred to me that I hadn’t considered if the butter would clash with the arima sansho. Looking about the web, I noticed that Chef Bouley’s handling of the ingredient did not include butter in his sauce (see http://starchefs.com/cook/recipe/david-bouley/australian-wagyu-beef-two-ways-warm-sancho-pepper-sauce-and-cold-ponzu) and neither did the Saveur recipe. At this point, I made the decision to leave out the butter.

But what kind of madeira to use for the reduction?  As I understand it, there are 4 general madeira classifications: sercial (driest), verdelho (fuller/sweeter), bual (dessert-like), malmsey (port-like).  There are apparently “…a lot of lesser Madeira…made from Tinta Negro Mole” and “…is best used only for cooking.” (see http://www.starchefs.com/wine/features/html/madeira/html/index.shtml ). So I picked up a bottle of Blandy’s ‘Rainwater’ madeira for the recipe (thank you to Ashley at Martingetti’s for the recommendation).  The other thing I remembered was that the beef stock from Perfect Additions was a 16 oz container.  So  I would be at least doubling the recipe for the sauce.

Sauce ingredients

Amount of shallots for the sauce (~2.5 oz)

Cooking down the shallots (about 3-4 minutes)

Measuring out the madeira

Adding the second cup of madeira

Reducing the 2 cups of madeira to a syrup took about 30 minutes.

1 cup of the Perfect Additions Beef Stock

At that point, I added the beef stock, scraped the bottom of the pot and then strained the whole thing

Straining out the shallots

(to remove the shallots).

Reduced shallot infused madeira and beef stock

I then added the arima sansho and reduced the sauce to 4 oz.

The Arima Sansho!

Measuring out the 4th teaspoon or arima sansho

Reducing the sauce from this point took another 30 minutes.  The sauce had that classic wonderful

“…when in doubt, strain…”

wine/shallot aroma with hints of the lemony sansho.

Finished sansho reduction

So how to do the dish?  So I chose to do this dish with  sauteed eringi (3

cut up eringi

large, rolled cut), blanched baby bok choy,

baby bok choy

and roasted fingerlings  (I prepared the fingerlings by drizzling them with a little grapeseed oil and seasoning them two 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix.  I planning on roasting them, covered, at 425 for about 45 minutes).

I seasoned 2 Snake River Farms Kobe Ribeyes each with 2 3-pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix on each side.

SRF Kobe Ribeye (from HMart, Burlington), seasoned with 4:1 salt/pepper mix

I dry seared the steaks and then cooked them at 50% max power for about 2 minutes aside (the steaks were ~1/2″ thick and I didn’t want to overcook them and lose all that kobe goodness.  While I let the steaks rest away from the pan, I added more grapeseed oil and tossed in the cut up eringi mushrooms and stir-fried them for about 2 minutes on high heat with 2 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix.

Sauteed erinigi

Assembling the dish was a matter of placing a baby bok choy down the middle of the plate and covering the leafy part with portion of the sauteed mushrooms.  Atop the greens and mushrooms went the steak, mushrooms to the side and then 4 tablespoons of the sancho/sansho reduction.

SRF Kobe Ribeye, Sancho/Sansho Reduction, Baby Bok Choy, Sauteed Eringi, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

The sauce flavor was a little on the sweet side (no doubt from the madeira) and the lemony sansho flavor notes – sort of reminiscent of kabayaki and sansho.  But the lemony sansho notes was a nice contrast to the richness  of the steak and the earthiness of the potatoes. It’s been about a year and a half since we had this dish at Ron Siegel’s Ritz Carlton Dining Room, San Francisco (and that restaurant has since become Parallel 37 and Chef Siegel’s moved on to Michael Mina’s). My wife seemed to think this dish agreed with her memories of the version we were served during the tasting menu meal there.  I think if I were to do this dish again, I’d reduce the amount of arima sansho from from 2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (or in this version, from 4 teaspoons to 3).

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