Fishing for New Ideas, Pacific Saury with Tomato Sauce Recipe from Donabe, Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking (Ten Speed Press, October 2015)by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore.
Pacific Saury with Tomato Sauce and Oven-Dried and Fresh Tomatoes
Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal
The tomato sauce is the heart of this dish. It was inspired by work we did at The Fat Duck from a study Fat Duck chef and owner Heston Blumenthal had conducted with Reading University and Umami Information Center. This study compared the levels of glutamates (the proteins responsible for umami taste) in the outer flesh of the tomato against that of the center. It was discovered that the center of a tomato is much higher in these glutamates, and concentrating the tomato centers increases the umami taste even further. So for this recipe I cook the tomato centers down to create umami-rich sauce on a par with that of sauce based on those high-umami Japanese ingredients, miso, dashi, or soy sauce. The body shape and clay of a soup and stew donabe like the Miso-Shiru Nabe are perfect to concentrate these flavors and brown the sugars in the tomato along the edges to develop a deep, rich flavor. With this in mind, try cooking other tomato sauces for pasta dishes such as Bolognese and see the difference a donabe can make! The leftover flesh of the tomato in my recipe is oven-dried as another way to concentrate the glutamates.
I made this recipe in Iga in the kitchen of the Nagatani family using sanma (Pacific saury), but it will also work well with sardines or fresh mackerel. – Kyle
Equipment: 1 large (1.6-quart/1.6 L) soup and stew donabe
5 pounds (2.25 kg) ripe, red heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 g) komatsuna (mustard spinach), mustard greens, spinach, or mizuna leaves, separated
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) grapeseed or canola oil
16 to 18 ounces (450 to 500 g) Pacific saury, mackerel, or sardine fillets
4 to 6 ounces (120 to 180 g) small cherry and/or teardrop tomatoes (preferably a mix of colors)
Freshly grated yuzu zest, for garnish
Chrysanthemum petals or flowers from spicy greens, for garnish
To prepare the sauce: Core the tomatoes and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large ice bath with more ice than water. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 5 seconds and transfer to the ice bath to stop cooking. Once they have cooled, peel the skins from the tomatoes and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers into the donabe. Divide the tomato halves into 2 pieces each and cut away the interior of the tomato from the outer flesh using a paring knife. Place the interior of the tomato in the donabe. Reserve the exterior of the tomatoes, that will now resemble petals. Place the donabe over medium heat and bring the tomato centers to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring regularly and scraping down the sides.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and lay the tomato petals, insides up, in a single layer on the sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and lay one slice of garlic on each petal. Drizzle with the olive oil and place in the oven. Turn the tray every 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are dry but still jammy (tomatoes should bake for a total of about 45 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the greens briefly until just tender, 5 to 10 seconds. Drain in a colander and allow to cool at room temperature. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt.
Once the tomato sauce has cooked down to a sauce consistency and is beginning to concentrate, prepare the fish. In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the fish skin-side down in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook on the skin side only until crisped and just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed; gently fold in the cherry tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and greens (reserving some of each to place on top). Cut the fish into strips about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. Combine with the sauce and garnish the top with greens, dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, yuzu zest, and chrysanthemum petals.
Fishing for ideas with Tokyo Thursdays # 309, first of 2016
(*Reprinted with permission from Donabe, by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2015 by Eric Wolfinger)
This raw salsa is a classic from Positano on the Amalfi coast. You need very good tomatoes for this, so make sure that you
find some that are super-sweet and fruity. We also call this pizza “a la Eduardo,” a reference to Eduardo di Filippo, the
famous Italian actor, playwright, author, and poet, who passed this recipe on to us many years ago.
Ingredients, per pizza
1 dough ball (see page 16),
left to rise for
11⁄2 to 2 hours
flour, for dusting
For the salsa (makes enough for 4 pizzas)
2 medium tomatoes
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄2 tablespoon mashed onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 basil leaves
a pinch of dried oregano
a pinch of marjoram
a few sprigs of fresh
1 tablespoon chopped
freshly ground black
Make the salsa: Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from the stove. Place the tomatoes in the water and leave for about 3 minutes until their skins start to wrinkle. Peel and seed the tomatoes and finely chop.
Place the tomatoes in a sieve, add the salt, and leave to drain over a bowl for about 20 minutes. Discard the juice and transfer the drained tomatoes to a large bowl with the garlic.
Add all the remaining salsa ingredients and stir to combine.
Marinate for at least 2 hours (it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days, although if you do this, bring it up to room temperature before use).
Place a rack on the highest shelf of the oven and turn the broiler to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased 10-inch cast-iron pan on the stove, set to medium heat.
Divide the salsa into two bowls and set one aside, reserving it for later (in total, ensure you have enough for about 4 tablespoons per pizza).
Sprinkle a little flour over your hands and on the work surface and open the dough ball by flattening and stretching the dough with your fingers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it a little more over your fists without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow it to start rising. As soon as the dough firms up, spread a quarter of the tomato salsa over the base with the back of a metal spoon.
Cook the pizza on top of the stove for about 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the broiler for another 3 to 4 minutes. Once ready, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved salsa (at room temperature) and finish with Parmesan, either grated or shaved, with extra basil if you like. Serve whole or in slices.
Wings on a Mission, here's a first recipe excerpted from The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook (Ecco-Anthony Bourdain, November 2015) by Danny Bowien with Chris Ying.
Chongqing Chicken Wings
It’s well known that the sign of a great dish is its ability to silence a large group of noisy people, enraptured by what they’re eating. All you hear is slurping and crunching, silverware against plates, chopsticks clicking. When the dish in question is la zi ji, the predominant sound is a soft rustling, like dry leaves skittering across a sidewalk. It is the noise made by diners sifting through a monstrous pile of chiles in search of golden brown bits of chicken hidden in the sea of red.
I’ve encountered versions of la zi ji, a dish most commonly traced to the Sichuan city of Chongqing, that are 95 percent chiles, 5 percent chicken. Some people balk at the idea of going to a restaurant and paying for a plate of food that is mostly inedible. To serve la zi ji at Mission Chinese, I needed to up the chicken-to-chile ratio.
Chicken wings to the rescue.
I’ve been pursuing the ideal chicken wing for most of my career. I’ve dabbled in all manner of elaborate wing practices. I’ve cured wings, confited them in chicken fat, smoked them, and sous-vided them. I’ve been close a few times, but I’d never really settled on a method until I spoke to a friend whose mom worked at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. The Anchor Bar is the supposed home of the original Buffalo wing. I prodded my friend, trying to get her to ask her mom for their secrets. Eventually I pried out of them that the key to a perfect chicken wing is to treat it like a French fry: parcook it, freeze it, and fry it. The freezing causes the liquid in the skin to expand and burst the cell walls, resulting in perfectly thin, crisp skin without any breading. Once I learned this technique, I never looked back.
This is how a lot of things work at Mission Chinese. We talk to people with a history of doing things right, and we learn from them. Then we consider how we can add something to what they’ve taught us, improve on it, make it our own. In this case, the addition of fried tripe to a plate of chicken wingsis giving your guests 110 percent. I like mixing proteins and layering similar textures. Here, on the same plate, you get the crackly skin of chicken wings, still juicy on the inside, as well as the crunchy chew of fried tripe. Plus the papery toughness of those chiles, which, I should mention, you don’t eat. Please stop coming to the restaurant and eating the chiles.
Note: You need to parcook the wings a day ahead, so don’t start this recipe on Sunday morning thinking you’ll have wings in time for football.
3 pounds chicken wings (either mid-joints or whole wings)
¼ cup kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ cup vegetable or peanut oil, plus 8 to 10 cups for deepfrying
½ pound honeycomb tripe
½ cup cornstarch, for dredging
4 cups dried Tianjin chiles or other medium-hot red chiles, like chiles Japones
About ¾ cup Chongqing Wing Spice Mix (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, toss the wings with the salt and ½ cup oil. Spread the wings out on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake the wings for 15 minutes, or just until the skin appears cooked but not browned. Let the parbaked wings cool to room temperature, then lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, overnight.
The next day, clean the tripe thoroughly under cold running water, scrubbing vigorously to remove any grit. Put in a pot, cover with cold salty water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, partially covered, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the tripe is very tender. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and cool completely.
Meanwhile, retrieve the wings from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Slice the cooked tripe into strips about ½ inch wide and 2 inches long. Set aside.
In a deep pot or a wok (or use a deep-fryer), heat about 4 inches of oil to 350°F. Meanwhile, pat the tripe strips dry with paper towels, then dredge them in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Working in batches, if necessary, deep-fry the wings and tripe for 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden and crispy. They should cook in about the same amount of time.
Meanwhile, toast the Tianjin chiles in a hot, dry wok or skillet for about a minute over high heat, stirring continuously so the chiles cook evenly. Transfer to a plate.
Drain the fried wings and tripe, shaking off as much oil as you can (or let them briefly drain on paper towels). Then transfer to a large bowl and dust them generously with the spice mix, tossing to coat. Add the toasted chiles and toss well. The chiles will perfume the dish, but they aren’t meant to be eaten.
To serve, transfer everything—aromatic chiles and all—to a serving platter and present to your awestruck and possibly terrified guests.
Chongqing Wing Spice Mix
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
2 tablespoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 star anise
2 black cardamom pods
1½ teaspoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Mushroom Powder (page 299)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
Toast the Sichuan peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cardamom, and cloves in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously until fragrant. In a small bowl, combine the toasted spices with the sugar, salt, mushroom powder, and cayenne.
In a spice or coffee grinder, grind the spice mix to a powder, working in batches if necessary. The spice mix will keep in an airtight container for about a week before losing much of its potency.
This is the gentleman’s MSG. It’s umami incarnate, in powdered form. It makes dishes more savory, but since it’s made primarily of powdered dried mushrooms, it lacks the stigma—unwarranted or not—of MSG. You can find mushroom powder at Asian markets or online, usually from Taiwanese producers. But a slightlyless potent, and less mysterious, version is easily made at home. I wouldn’t recommend making this in a large batch, as the flavor dissipates over time.