Arctic Char With Morimoto Sauce “Americane”

During the run of the Iron Chef America series, I’ve seen Iron Chefs Sakai and Morimoto use a sauce called ‘Sauce Americane/Americaine’.  I was intrigued enough that I wanted to try it.  When Iron Chef Morimoto opened his first restaurant in Philadelphia there was an item on the menu:

* pan-roasted arctic char with maitake mushrooms and lobster sauce “American”

( see: http://marlacimini.com/morimoto.php)

Since my wife loves arctic char, I thought I’d take a crack at doing the dish. Pan roasting the fish would be the easy part for me; but how to make the sauce? Fortunately, I came across a resource back in 2002 at  http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Masaharu+Morimoto.-a089157440 that described the recipe –

For the sauce americane:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 small shallots, peeled and minced
1/2 cup brandy (I use cognac here)
1 cup lobster stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced truffle
Salt and pepper to taste

A long gone website (ca. 2002) “www.masterchefrecipes.com” also had a version of this recipe from Iron Chef Morimoto that mentioned the possibility of substituting shrimp/seafood/fish stock though it was noted that lobster stock was preferred.   Shrimp is generally more accessible to most of us so I thought I’d do this sauce using a shrimp shell base.

Iron Chef Morimoto’s lobster broth is:

Lobster Broth (from Morimoto: The New Art Of Japanese Cooking , p. 258)
2 lbs (900g) lobster heads (here, I used shells from about 1 1/2 lbs of large shrimp)
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brandy (I use cognac here)
1 tablespoon sake
1 carrot chopped        (“mirepoix!” – this ended up being 4 oz)
3 celery ribs chopped   (“mirepoix!” – at the market this was about 4 oz)
1 onion chopped         (“mirepoix!” – this ended up being 8 oz)
3 garlic cloves chopped (I use Nobu’s method of grating the garlic here)
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 springs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon white peppercorns

clockwise from lower left: white peppercorns, cognac, sake, dried thyme, bay leaves

clockwise from lower left: white peppercorns, cognac, sake, dried thyme, bay leaves

tomato broth for the lobster/shrimp broth

tomato broth for the lobster/shrimp broth

So I went ahead and did a version of the stock/broth with shrimp shells.

reserved shrimp shells

reserved shrimp shells

1. In a saute pan, sear the lobster heads/shrimp shells over high heat in the vegetable oil until they turn red, about 3 minutes. Pour in brandy (cognac) and sake, toss and remove from heat.

pan searing the shrimp shells

pan searing the shrimp shells

Shrimp shells after being cooked with sake and cognac

Shrimp shells after being cooked with sake and cognac

mirepoix, garlic, scallions for the broth base

mirepoix, garlic, scallions for the broth base

2. In a large saucepan, saute the mirepoix with garlic and scallion in the remaining oil over medium-high

cooking the vegetables with the shrimp fond.

cooking the vegetables with the shrimp fond.

heat (75% maxpower?) until softened but not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.  HERE there appears to be an omission in the book regarding the amount of scallions.   Based on the measurements from Iron Chef Morimoto’s Garlic Soy Jus and Scallion Ginger Sauce recipes, 1 small scallion cleaned, derooted and finely minced  should do the trick.

3. Add the sauteed lobster heads/shrimp shells with any juices in the pan, the tomato paste, thyme, bay

Adding the bay leaves, peppercorns after covering the other vegetables with water

Adding the bay leaves, peppercorns after covering the other vegetables with water

leaves, white peppercorns and enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil, skimming off any

Adding 3/8 teaspoons of dried thyme

Adding 3/8 teaspoons of dried thyme

scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, adding water if needed to keep the ingredients cover.

measuring out 1/3 cup of tomato paste

measuring out 1/3 cup of tomato paste

Simmering the broth for an hour

Simmering the broth for an hour

4. Strain the broth through a fine sieve pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Let

straining out the broth's solids

straining out the broth’s solids

cool, then cover and refridgerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months

(by the way: If you can only get dried thyme, here’s the conversion – 6 thyme sprigs==3/4 teaspoon dried thyme  – so for this recipe, it’s 3/8 teaspoon [here’s the reference: http://www.healwithfood.org/substitute/convert-fresh-thyme-dried-ratio.php%5D.  OR if it’s thyme leaves, it’s a ratio of 3 fresh:1 dried).

4oz diced shallots for actually making the sauce itself

4oz diced shallots for actually making the sauce itself

Going back to the sauce americane recipe – In a saucepan, i heated the oil and sauteed the shallots.

Sauteeing the shallots

Sauteeing the shallots

Cognac to be cooked with the shallots

Cognac to be cooked with the shallots

The saucepan was deglazed with the cognac and reduced until almost dry. Then the lobster stock  was added and the whole thing simmered until reduced by

cooking down the shallots with the cognac

cooking down the shallots with the cognac

Shrimp broth base ready for saucing

Shrimp broth base ready for saucing

...with plenty leftover for another batch!

…with plenty leftover for another batch!

Cooking the broth with the cognac cooked shallots to be reduced to 1/2 cup...

Cooking the broth with the cognac cooked shallots to be reduced to 1/2 cup…

half.  I strained the mixture and added the cream and reduced it slightly one last time. At this point butter was to be whisked in and minced truffles added.  Finally the sauce’s seasoning was to be corrected and

...and a 1/2 cup it was!

…and a 1/2 cup it was!

kept warm.

1/3 cup of cream for the sauce

1/3 cup of cream for the sauce

For the version I would be doing, I added 1/4 teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix, dropped the butter (remember, my wife isn’t really fond of heated butter) and also

the finished sauce (before the truffle oil)

the finished sauce (before the truffle oil)

added a few drops of truffle oil.

...about 1/2 teaspoon of truffle oil to be added to the sauce

…about 1/2 teaspoon of truffle oil to be added to the sauce

A couple of notes:

“Sauce Americaine” (whatever the spelling) was originally a sauce Provencal from Southern France which used tomatoes (thank you, James Beard). Iron Chef Morimoto apparently relied on pan frying the lobster shells and the tomato paste for the sauce’s redness.  The tomato adds a bit of an acidic edge to the sauce and the use of the cream is used to soften/round the flavor of the sauce.  When adding the cream, pour a little bit in at a time and blend.  The sauce is done when you can put a teaspoon halfway in and the sauce’s nappe’s.

pan frying the arctic char, seasoned with 4:1 salt/pepper mix

pan frying the arctic char, seasoned with 4:1 salt/pepper mixture

The arctic char fillets, I cooked in the pan with rice oil on medium heat, searing the skin side down first for about 4 minutes (to get the skin nice and crisp) and then flipping the fillets over for a few more minutes.

Maitake to be pan fried and topping the fish as garnish

Maitake to be pan fried and topping the fish as garnish

I set the fish aside to rest while I quickly pan fried the maitake in the same pan with a little bit more rice oil.  The maitake was cooked for about 2 or 3 minutes over high heat. Plating was now just a matter of  placing the roasted asparagus down first, followed by the char and topped with the maitake.  I carefully poured about 4 tablespoons of the sauce into each plate.

Simple Salad With Nobu Yuzu Dressing, Arctic Char With Roasted Aspargus, Sauce Americane, Maitake

Simple Salad With Nobu Yuzu Dressing, Arctic Char With Roasted Aspargus, Sauce Americane, Maitake

My wife commented that the Arctic Char dish with the Morimoto Sauce Americane exceeded her expectations. I think that if I were to do this sauce again, I would reduce the cream from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup.

Advertisements

, , , , ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: