I hadn’t played with anticucho for a while and I thought it might be nice to do an anticucho kushiyaki dinner one evening. Since the kushiyaki ‘recipes’ were not in any of the Nobu books, I called Matsuhisa, LA @ 8:30pm EDT 25 May 2013 and had quick conversation with Executive Chef Yasuhiko Homma, Matsuhisa-sama’s number-one.
Chef Homma indicated to me that they don’t marinate their beef, chicken, seafood, but rather grill them with a bit of salt/pepper and then serve the skewers with about 65% of their red anticucho and about 35% of their yellow anticucho. Looking at some of the anticucho skewer pictures from the web, I gather the red anticucho sauce is first drizzled along the skewer followed by a drizzle of the yellow anticucho sauce. But what did 65:35 mean? To me, it suggested 2 teaspoons of red anticucho drizzled along the skewer followed by 1 teaspoon of yellow anticucho.
The skewers at Matsuhisa are, apparently, an all-proteins affair; and as a dinner, I wanted to make sure that vegetables were well represented in a ‘one-dish’ meal, as it were. So to prepare for this meal, I went out and got:
10 cippolini onions (cleaned, trimmed, peeled of outer skin)
1 orange bell pepper cut into 10 pieces
2 small zucchini cut into the 1/2″ pieces
10 grape tomatoes
1 1/3 lb of cubed (~1 – ~1.5 inch pieces) boneless leg of lamb (about 12 pieces)
The vegetables were placed in large mixing bowl and tossed with some extra virgin olive oil and a 3 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix. Onto 6 skewers I proceeded to place: lamb, cippolini, pepper, zucchini, tomato, lamb, cippolini, zucchini, pepper, tomato. There were some leftover zucchini pieces which I ‘lollipop”ed onto 2 remaining skewers.
Before getting the skewers onto the grill pan, I seasoned the lamb pieces with 4:1 salt/pepper mixed and then brushed the remaining salt/pepper olive oil mixture onto the lamb pieces.
Once the grill pan was good and hot, I rubbed/wiped the pan with a napkin soaked in olive oil and began placing the skewers into the pan.
I had the heat on high and lowered it to medium and proceeded to turn the skewers over 1/4 way every five minutes (for a total of about 20 minutes – my wife likes her lamb done a shade better than medium). As it would turn out, I could’ve let them cook about 4 minutes a turn (for a total of 16 minutes). Once the skewers were done, I got them off the pan and onto plates. As was mentioned by Yasu-san at Matsuhisa, LA, I drizzled 2 teaspoons of red anticucho sauce along the length of each skewer and then 1 teaspoon of the yellow anticucho sauce along the length of each skewer.
Before digging into the skewers with a bowl of rice, I put the next batch of skewers into the grill pan (keeping an eye on it every 5 minutes or so). My wife and I commented that the anticucho sauce really did lend a ‘smoky barbecue’ flavor to the skewers. The way the anticucho sauces were used here were very different from the miso anticucho combination to which I was accustomed. In Nobu: The Cookbook, the anticucho sauces are mixed 1 part Nobu miso:1 part red anticucho sauce AND 1 part Nobu miso:1 part yellow anticucho sauce for his grilled octopus dish. In Nobu Now, the anticucho sauces are mixed equal parts Nobu miso, red anticucho and yellow anticucho for his grilled lamb chop dish.
It was a wonderful meal overall and I’m happy to know that I have a way to offer a new flavor idea if I get asked to help out at a barbecue gathering. Nobu miso and anticucho for those who want sweet and spicy and 2:1 anticucho blend for those who want bold savory flavors!