Near the end of Top Chef Season 5, I was intrigued by a featured dish in the Le Bernadin episode. The item was mahi mahi with lemon miso broth. This dish apparently has had various incarnations at the restaurant based on a survey of some web pages. Some incarnations have used turbot, lobster, and grouper. Near as I can tell, I suspected these were all poached. I was very intrigued on Chef Ripert’s approach with these ingredients. I wondered if I could make something like this, here at home.
The first important question was how to make the lemon miso broth? Well, after much research, I happened across:
This recipe appears to be have been published after the airing of the Le Bernadin episode (episode 11) of Top Chef (season 5). So I thought Chef Vongerichten’s recipe might give some good guidance on what to do. It’s pretty clear the broth is a basic dashi broth (about 3 cups with 5 (!) tablespoons of miso mixed in as well as 2 tablespoons of yuzu (swap in lemon, here) juice.
Given how tough it is the get matsutake at the moment, I thought I’d decide to go ahead and try something else like maitake (see http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/le-bernardin-new-york?select=Cf8q1zS9-R2xSBrMzZq4XQ#Cf8q1zS9-R2xSBrMzZq4XQ ) broken into 6 pieces (less the chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme and parsley) given some of the pictures of the Le Bernadin dish.
The only question now was how to poach the fish. Turbot is hard to find around here, so I thought I’d substitute halibut. Fortunately, I discovered a video of Chef Ripert poaching halibut here:
(ignore the advertising, see time indices: 1:25-1:28)
(That source recipe can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/332785/erics-poached-halibut-in-warm-herb-vinai )
He simmers his halibut steaks (8oz each) in the court boullion for about 3-4 minutes. So I thought I would do the same with the lemon miso broth (reserving 8 tablespoons [4 tablespoons/person]).
So I began by making a pot of dashi (usually about 7 cups, of which I would save about 3 1/2). And when I
would make the miso soup/broth, I would make about 3 1/2 cups with the 5 tablespoons of miso (filtered in)
and reserve 1/2 cup for plating (as ‘sauce’). Once I reserved the 1/2 cup, I placed the halibut fillets into the
simmering broth (50% max heat) as instructed by Chef Ripert for about 6 minutes.
In the meantime, I started blanching 24 asparagus pieces.
Just after placing the halibut on plates, I sauteed the maitake (cut up into 6 pieces) on high heat using rice
oil for about 3 minutes on high heat and then placed them around the fish as well as placing the asparagus in a ring around the plate.
To finish, I would top with a small chiffonade of fresh shiso.
On tasting the dish, both my wife and I noticed that pieces of the halibut needed to be broken off and swished in the lemon miso broth and eaten with a bit of the shiso (the halibut being quite mild, though seasoned with the salt/pepper). The halibut was just cooked enough and nicely moist (I was concerned that I might have overcooked the halibut, but 6 minutes in the poaching liquid appeared to do the trick). The asparagus and ‘pan roasted’ maitake provided a nice flavor contrast the lemon miso/halibut/shiso combination. It was a real pleasure to do this dish. Now that I’ve done this dish, I’m excited to try doing this with lobster tail!