Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
Continuing in the vein of breakfast, I was intrigued by Nobu’s approach to ‘bagels and lox’ – a dish described here on p.4 of the pdf:
As I understand it, the crispy sushi rice is covered in everything mix, given a schmear of tofu crema and topped with a salmon ‘pastrami’ that’s probably been kissed with ponzu and then finished with slivers of red onion and capers. So there were a couple of issues. 1. How to do the tofu crema? 2. what would I choose for an everything bagel topping mix? 3. How to do the crispy rice? and 4. How to do the ‘pastrami’ salmon?
To answer question 1, I found the following:
-10 pcs mixed baby beets
–1 pack silken tofu (firm tofu is fine) [10 oz]
-2 tbls lemon juice [2 T+ 1 t]
-2 tbls chopped shiso
-garlic puree to taste [3/4 t]]
-4 tbls of extra virgin olive oil
– pinch of salt and pepper [1 t 4:1 salt/pepper mix]
-1/2 of a red onion cut into slivers
-2 tbls of yuzu lemon juice
-1 bunch of microshiso for garnish
-drizzle of of balsamic teriyaki
-roast baby beets; once cooked bring to room temp and slice in half; quarters if they are big
-puree tofu until smooth with salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic puree and chopped shiso to taste
because of the lack of measurements on the salt/pepper and garlic. I had to taste the crema and adjust the seasonings. I ended up at 3/4 teaspoon of grated garlic, an extra teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix.
-toss cut roasted baby beets with slivered red onions extra virgin olive oil and yuzu lemon juice,
salt and pepper
-place tofu crema in center of plate, position baby beets and red onions in a stack on top
of the tofu crema
-drizzle balsamic teriyaki around the perimeter of the plate
-top the beets with microshiso garnish that is lightly dressed with a bit of EV olive oil
and yuzu lemon
That answered the question about the tofu crema.
So thinking about the everything bagel topping led me back to the origins of the everything bagel. According to a story in the New Yorker ( http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2008/03/10/080310ta_talk_schulman ), the topping mix resulted from the baked leftover fragments of poppy, sesame, onion, salt, garlic. Admittedly there are others who claim to have created the everything bagel; but what’s clear is that it seems the original topping was poppy, sesame, onion, salt, garlic. So I guess from what I’ve found, the topping mix is:
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons dried garlic (minced or flaked)
4 teaspoons dried onion (minced or chopped)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or other coarse salt)
(a microbatch version would be 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon each of the other ingredients)
Now I had to consider the crispy rice. I understand crispy rice with spicy tuna/whatever’s been quite trendy, apparently originating at Katsuysa in LA. The thing is, the crispy rice is apparently deep fried. In fact, Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook recipe for Crispy Rice Cubes… (p. 121) also talks about deep-frying the rice for sushi rice 360 degrees until browned. I wasn’t really happy about that and I started experimenting. The sushi rice ‘bagel patty’ was shaped with a 4″ diameter ring mold and then sprinkled with the everything bagel topping mix. I think the key is to begin with a hot pan with rice oil and cook the ‘sushi rice patty’ each side for about 5 minutes on medium heat until both sides are crisped. By the way, Matsuhisa-sama makes a reminder that the general rule of thumb for sushi rice is 6 cups cooked rice to 1 cup sushi vinegar; that reduces to 1 cup cooked rice to 2 tablespoons+2 teaspoons sushi vinegar (actually, Iron Chef Morimoto suggests 10% amount of sushi vinegar relative to the volume of rice).
That answered the question about my approach to the crispy rice.
At this point, I realized I needed to see if what I did was reasonable. So I thought I quickly complete the dish with simple smoked salmon tossed with 7 teaspoons of ponzu sauce. So atop the crispy sushi rice, I put on two teaspoons of the crema and schmeared it with a knife. I finished the ‘bagel’ with a couple of slices of smoked salmon (which I annointed with ponzu) that I’d purchased at Whole Foods.
I wanted to try the dish without the red onion and capers to see what the dish would taste like. Wow – both my
wife and I were pleasantly surprised at how good the dish was, even without the red onion and capers.
I thought I’d leave the creation of the salmon pastrami for another time (since it involved a cold smoking issue). But to approach this last question, this is probably a salmon preparation of Toro “Pastrami” from Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, p, 82. The pastrami spice mix from the book is:
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 large garlic cloved minced
1 Tbls salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp smoked paprika
The mixture of black/white peppercorns, coriander and mustard seeds need to be ground into a semi-fine powder. The remaining ingredients are then added to the mix.The pastrami mix is then rubbed onto the fish and the cold smoked with 1 cup of cherrywood chips and a tablespoon of uncooked rice. As for coldsmoking the fish for 15 minutes, I might go the Iron Chef route
and use a perforated platform which I could put inside my coverable wok with the chips and rice in an aluminum foil container at the bottom. And perhaps that might answer the question about the salmon pastrami.
While I was glad to be able to have this dish as a breakfast option, I was also glad that I now knew how to make crispy sushi rice (read: crispy sushi rice with spicy sushi fish) without having to deep fry. Being able to make the tofu crema also meant that I would be able to make the roasted beet salad from Nobu New York. So I gained the ability to make two other dishes by making this wonderful breakfast dish!