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ANIME-OUI! Yannick Alleno and Yasunari Okazaki, L'Abysse, Paris, France.

FRANCKIE ALARCON'S CLEVER PEN STROKES, brush flourishes, and speech bubble narratives in L'art du Sushi bring to life the best sushi chefs in Tokyo. Yet Alarcon deviates from Japan, devoting several pages to a unique collaboration In Paris, one that Art Culinaire recently has also spotlighted--the dynamic culinary duo of chef Yannick Alleno and sushi prodigy Yasunari Okazaki.

Alleno and Okazaki connected in 2016 when Alleno visited Ginza, Tokyo, where Okazaki worked. Although Okazaki was only in his 30s, and without formal culinary training [he trained at his family's restaurant in Tokyo], his precision in sushi and fugu cutting, his vegetable engraving artistry [a medalist in international competitions], and his dedication to preserving the vanishing craft of Edo-style sushi so impressed Alleno that he tapped Okazaki to helm his Paris 12-seat sushi counter. Alleno calls Okazaki "a real sushi shoku-nin" [sushi craftsman]. At L'Abysse, Japanese and French gastronomies intertwine as intricately as Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata's astonishing art installation that fills the restaurant walls, a behemoth nest of woven chopsticks numbering in the thousands.

The L'Abysse menu represents a three-pronged approach: traditional Edomae-style sushi preparations, novel sushi creations, and dishes based on Alleno's cryo-concentration extraction technique. The latter challenges the idea of a classic reduction, the process of thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture through simmering or boiling. Rather, through cold extraction, Alleno ups the flavor ante while retaining the nutrition normally lost through reduction.

Alleno developed cryo-concentration in partnership with Culinary Research and Education Academy (CREA), the research center led by sous-vide pioneer Bruno Goussault. The technique first involves cooking each ingredient independently over low heat through the sous vide method. Alleno then distills those concentrates further in a centrifuge, freezing and separating the ice from the liquid extractions. He ultimately blends the ultra-rich, Intense reductions into a sauce that supersede traditional reductions, building on classic French cooking methods.

Alleno hopes L'Abysse cryo-concentrates the magic and enlightenment he discovered on his first visit to Japan, when at age 20, he interned with now retired sushi master Hachiro Mizutani. Thirty subsequent journeys to the Land of the Rising Sun, including his fortuitous encounter with Chef Okazaki, have cemented Alleno's passion for Japanese culture.

For the nigiri:

Fresh fish such as tuna, yellow
  bass, sea bass, or salmon,
  sliced approximately :A-inch
  x 3 inches-thick
50 grams Sasanishiki sushi rice
50 grams water
6 grams red rice vinegar
4 grams white rice vinegar
Pinch of salt
7 grams fresh caviar
1 piece nori, trimmed to 2.5
  centimeters x 7 centimeters
Salt, as needed

FOR THE NIGIRI: Salt both sides of fish. Let stand 10 minutes.
Wipe salt off with paper towels and dry overnight in refrigerator.
Rinse rice well and drain. Add water and cook in a rice cooker
according to manufacturer's instructions. Let rice stand for
30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and season with vinegars
and salt.

TO SERVE: Use 15 grams tuna with 10 grams rice. Use 10 grams
yellow bass with 10 grams rice. Roll 8 grams rice in nori and
top with 7 grams caviar. Take fish in one hand and rice ball in
other. Place rice ball on top of fish and press down on center of
the ball. Roll fish and rice from palm of hand to fingers. Using
first two fingers, press down on the fish and curl fingers around
the rice, applying pressure with thumb. Rotate entire piece and
repeat with remaining fish and rice.

Yannick Alleno and Yasunari Okazaki, L'Abysse

For the shiso syrup:

800 grams water
80 grams caster sugar
40 grams shiso leaves

For the shiso shingen mochi:

360 grams shiso syrup, from
8 grams gelatin, bloomed in
  cold water

For the shiso vinegar sauce:

480 grams rice vinegar
240 grams mirin
240 grams sake
40 grams shiso leaves

For the celery cryo-concentration:

4 kilograms celery
2.4 liters water

For the lemon-pear sauce:

320 grams lemon juice
1.2 kilograms pears, cored,
  peeled and chopped
60 grams pear brandy such as
  Poire Williams

For the lemon-pear meringue:

452 grams egg whites
452 grams icing sugar
2.3 grams lemon juice
135.6 grams meringue
135.6 grams lemon-pear sauce,
  from above

For the kuromitsu:

600 grams Okinawa black sugar
300 grams water

For the dish:

4 banana leaves
4 shiso leaves
Liquid nitrogen
Fleur de sel
Galabe sugar *

FOR THE SHISO SYRUP: In a pot, bring water and sugar to a boil.
Lower heat and infuse shiso leaves for 10 minutes, cooking mixture
to a thin syrup consistency. Discard shiso leaves and let syrup
FOR THE SHISO SHINGEN MOCHI: In a small pot, heat shiso
syrup. Add hydrated gelatin and whisk to combine. Pour into
1-centimeter diameter silicone half-spheres. Store in a cool place
to set.

FOR THE SHISO VINEGAR SAUCE: In a pot, bring liquids to a boil. Add
shiso leaves. Store in a cool place.

FOR THE CELERY CRYO-CONCENTRATION: Place water and celery in a
vacuum sealing bag and cook in a 181 degree water bath for 6 hours.
Filter and achieve cryo-concentration.

FOR THE LEMON-PEAR SAUCE: Mix lemon juice with pears. Bring to a
boil. Add pear alcohol. Store in a cool place.

FOR THE LEMON-PEAR MERINGUE: In a mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg
whites with half of the icing sugar until glossy. Add remaining
icing sugar and lemon juice. Using a spatula, fold evenly. Divide
mixture in half. Incorporate half with lemon-pear sauce and then
dry remaining half egg white mixture in oven at 158 degrees for 3
hours until dry.
FOR THE KUROMITSU: Bring black sugar and water to
a boil.
TO SERVE: On a plate, place a large banana leaf. Cover
shiso leaf on both sides with lemon-pear meringue. Top with dried
meringue. Quickly dip leaf into liquid nitrogen. Arrange shiso
tempura on banana leaf. In a small bowl, place shiso shingen mochi,
kuromitsu, and celery cryoconcentration. Sprinkle shiso tempura
with fleur de sel and galabe sugar.

* Galabe, made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice from the volcanic island of Reunion uses ancient Reunionese methods in its prodcution. It's mineral and nutrient-rich.

Yannick Alleno and Yasunari Okazaki, L'Abysse

For the rice:

50 grams Sasanishiki sushi rice
50 grams water
6 grams red rice vinegar
4 grams white rice vinegar
Pinch of salt

For the fish:

5 grams ginger, peeled and
8 grams shallots, peeled and
100 grams sake
1 sheet gelatin
16 grams thinly sliced black
  truffles, sliced thinly
160 grams sushi rice
226 grams fresh sole fillet
Fleur de sel

FOR THE RICE: Rinse rice well and drain.
Add water and cook in a rice cooker
according to manufacturer's instructions.
Let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer to a
large bowl and season with vinegars.

FOR THE SOLE: In a saucepan, saute ginger,
shallots, and sake, bringing to simmer.
Poach sole approximately 3-4 minutes,
then remove and set aside. Strain cooking
liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and add
gelatin sheet, mixing until set.

FOR THE DISH: Inside an oshizushi press
sushi box, place a large piece of plastic
wrap, pressing it on the bottom and sides
so as to cover the inside surface of the
box. Extend plastic wrap 1 or 2 inches
over the edges of the box. Begin to layer
ingredients, compressing with each layer.
Place black truffles in the bottom, gelled
sake mixture, sole, and sushi rice. Use
a sharp knife to cut sushi through each
vertical slit in box. Place oshi sushi on a
plate, sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve.

Yannick Alleno and Yasunari Okazaki, L'Abysse

For the chestnut powder:

250 grams pate de marron
250 grams chestnut cream

For the chestnuts:

500 grams fresh Provence
750 grams whole milk

For the chestnut jelly:

200 grams chestnut extract
5 grams caster sugar
3 grams gelatin leaf, softened
  in cold water

For the chantilly cream:

250 grams whole cream, cold
10 grams caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and
25 grams chestnut mixture,
  from above
20 grams Bailey's Irish Cream

For the dish:

Whiskey, as needed [save the
  Hibiki 30 for sipping, not

for the chestnut powder: In a bowl, combine pate de
marron with chestnut cream. Cover with plastic and refrigerate
until set. Preheat oven to 338 degrees. On a Silpat, using an
offset spatula, spread mixture thinly and bake 12-14 minutes.
Cool, then break into pieces. In a spice grinder, pulverize to a
coarse powder. Store in a moisture-free container.

FOR THE CHESTNUTS: Using a sharp knife, pierce chestnuts.
Steam at 374 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool, then remove
and reserve hulls. Arrange chestnuts in a vacuum-sealing bag
with milk. Cook at 181 degrees for 12 hours. Strain through a
fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

FOR THE CHESTNUT JELLY: In a pot over low heat, add half of
chestnut extract with sugar and gelatin. Mix until combined,
then add remaining chestnut extract. Refrigerate to set.

FOR THE CHANTILLY CREAM: In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy
cream, sugar, and scaped vanilla together on high speed until
soft peaks form. Fold in chestnut powder and Bailey's.

TO SERVE: On a plate, arrange chestnut hulls. Inside, add
cooked chestnuts, chantilly cream, and chestnut jelly. Drizzle
with whiskey and flambe tableside.

Yannick Alleno and Yasunari Okazaki, L'Abysse

Photos by Evan Sung

Illustration by Franckie Alarcon
COPYRIGHT 2019 Culinaire, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Newman, Carol
Publication:Art Culinaire
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 22, 2019
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