Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
Recently, my wife indicated that she would prefer that I not make Nobu’s new-style oil over her concerns about oxidized olive oil. After my recent spinal neck surgery, I needed to find a alternate steamed fish preparation that was easy for me to physically swallow.
After going through my cookbooks, I settled on Iron Chef Morimoto’s Sakana No Sakamushi (Mastering The Art Of Japanese Home Cooking, p 122-123). The recipe title literally means “fish, sake steamed” This preparation begins with rehydrating store brought konbu which are of the hard/dry sheet variety. One might have to take a dry sheet or two and soak it (submerged) in room temperature water for around 10 minutes until it is very pliable and flexible.
Once the konbu is ready, each 5oz fillet of fish (spanish mackerel, black cod, chilean seabass) is given a 15 sec soak in 3 oz of sake that
has 1/2 t salt dissolved into it. Each fillet portion can be wrapped in a tube of 7″ x 5″ sheet of konbu/kombu. As it would turn out, I
needed 3 overlapping pieces of konbu since what I had wasn’t long enough.
It’s then just a matter of getting the portions onto my revol heat proof plates for steaming and then into the steamer (set for high heat) for about 10-12 minutes (in this case, it would be about 15 minutes)
The ‘topping’ sauce can be prepared ahead or while the fish is cooking. Iron Chef Morimoto indicates the sauce is simply:
1/4 c (4T) japanese soy sauce
1 T + 1t + 1/2t rice vinegar
1 T + 1t + 1/2t finely minced scallion (white and light green parts)
1 T sugar
1 1/2t mirin
1 1/2t toasted sesame oil
1 1/2t japanese tobanjang (chile bean sauce)
1 t sesame seeds
When I read this, I immediately thought of Nobu’s Steamed Chilean Seabass With Spicy Black Bean Sauce. So while I could do the sauce
as prescribed in the recipe, I thought I could do a variant microbatch for just my wife and myself as:
2T japanese soy sauce
2t + 1/4t rice vinegar
2t + 1/4t finely minced scallion (white and light green parts)
1/2 T sugar
3/4t toasted sesame oil
3/4t chili garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee)
Once the fish finished steaming, I got it out of the steamer, carefully unwrapped it and got it transferred to a family-style serving plate
Once I transferred it to the serving plate, I carefully poured the sauce over the entire fillet.
While I was working on the fish, my wife helped out by preparing sauteed baby bok choy (since they offer that vegetable at Morimoto NYC) and eringi mushrooms to pair with the fish. My wife was absolutely pleased with this steamed fish alternative. She was concerned that the tobanjan would be overpowering but discovered it was nicely balanced with the soy and sesame oil combination. The dish clearly answered her concerns regarding steamed fish and new-style oil, so I guess this offering may go on heavy rotation for menu planning!