What to make for the 1st weekend of spring 2013?
After much reflection and scanning my cookbooks, I came across my Boston University demonstration lecture notes of 10 Oct 2007 featuring Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. In those notes, I remembered one of the dishes being the daikon ‘fettuncine’. So I thought that would be a great first course for a Saturday night (23 Mar 2013) dinner. The online recipe can be found here:
During the demonstration, the daikon ‘fettucine’ was originally made by katsuramuki process which was then rolled up and then cut into ‘fettucine’ ribbons. I don’t think I was quite so brave as to attempt that method – especially since I didn’t quite have that knife skill (something I need to learn how to do?). You can watch Iron Chef Morimoto doing katsuramuki here:
(see time indices: 2:03-2:48)
As noted from the chef, for most folks, using a swivel peeler running the length of a daikon would suffice. How long a length of daikon? I figured out that I needed to use a 12″ long daikon which I settled on by measuring out a pasta strand of DeCecco linguine! In preparing the daikon fettucine, Iron Chef Morimoto made note that the daikon was to be soaked in heavily salted water for as little as 6-8 minutes (even though the recipe calls for doing it 15-20 minutes). The key point is to note the heavily salted
water (which is not mentioned in the book), which I took to mean ‘sea-water salty’ (~1/4 teaspoon per cup of water). As for the garlic, the recipe in Iron Chef Morimoto’s book calls for the garlic to be minced; but in the demonstration, Iron Chef Morimoto clearly demonstrated the garlic sliced thin – not unlike the techniques used by Nobu Matsuhisa. And while the recipe in the book calls for the onion to be finely chopped, I saw Iron Chef Morimoto doing a classic fine ‘french’ dice of the onion.
In most cases, I tend to exclude the sugar for recipes; but in this case, because of the pepperiness of the raw
daikon, I went ahead and added the sugar to the sauce – because presumably it was there to cut daikon’s
When I went to correct the seasoning of the tomato-basil sauce, I found the addition of 1/4 teaspoon
of the 4:1 salt/pepper mix to be sufficient. Once the sauce was ready, I transferred it to a saute pan and drained
the daikon ribbons and then added them to the warmed sauce. One other note – it actually took me about 3 or 4 minutes for the daikon ribbons to ‘cook through’ in the tomato/basil sauce rather than the 1 minute mentioned
in the book. Once everything was cooked through, I carefully teased out portions of the daikon into serving bowls and the transferred spoonfuls of the sauce from the saute pan to top the ‘fettucine’.
Upon tasting the dish – both my wife and I commented on how mild and light the dish was. My wife thought the dish needed a little ‘punch’ – and as per the photo in Chef Morimoto’s book (p. 171), the dish is garnished with threads of ito togarashi. Perhaps that little spicy hint might be something I need to add, the next time I do this dish.