Printer Friendly

The batter to (b)eat you with.

Batter is protection. Draped around foods before they're deep-fried, it keeps them from losing moisture and flavor. It also keeps moisture and salt from compromising the quality of the hot fat, and prevents food from absorbing excess fat while it cooks.

Batter is cohesion. In a fritter, it's the matrix that holds fish, meat, vegetables or fruits together as they fry. Batter is responsible for keeping all those chocolate chips, nuts and raisins together in a cookie.

Batter is refinement. Tempura batter and panko crumbs transform a sliced root vegetable into a light, crispy miracle. A batter less precisely defined turns a simple tube steak into summer's ubiquitous corn dog.

Batter is a vehicle. A churro's ridged and sugared tubing is a crispy conduit for oozing chocolate. Peking pancakes facilitate the moo shu experience. Crepes gently unfold to reveal stewed fruits, sauteed shrimp or souffle.

Sometimes, batter is the whole point. Berries and candied nuts and whipped cream are all well and good, but all a pancake or a waffle really needs, aside from a pat of butter and some maple syrup, is to be made from a good batter.

Deep-Frying Tips

MANY OF THE RECIPES THAT INVOLVE BATTER ALSO involve deep-frying, a cooking method that can yield delicious results if done properly. Choose a fryer or pot that is at least three inches higher than the level of the oil. Most foods are deep-fried between 350 and 375 degrees; Japanese tempura cooks recommend working between 375 and 390 degrees, using vegetable and sesame oils in a 4 to 1 ratio. For deep-frying, it is safest to choose a fat with a high smoke point, like canola, corn, peanut, soy or vegetable oil. Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of your oil. If it's too hot, the batter will form a crust that prevents the release of moisture during cooking; that moisture will be released as the food cools, making the crust turn soggy. Too-cold oil will be absorbed in an undesirable quantity into the batter, and the food inside will be greasy and overcooked. Be sure to drain fried foods on absorbent paper and season as soon as they are removed from the fryer.

WON'T YOU LEE MY NEIGHBOR?

susur lee

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

SUSUR * TORONTO, ONTARIO

CHEF SUSUR LEE IS VERY HONEST ABOUT HIS MOTIVATION for opening a second restaurant, right next door to his eponymous temple of fine dining.

"The place next door became available, and it is so beautiful, and I thought, I don't want any assholes to move in next door," Lee says with a laugh. He continues, "I also recognized that I have talented people working for me, and I wanted to give them an opportunity to grow." Lee appointed Jason Carter, his sous chef at Susur, as chef at the new restaurant, which is called Lee. Of the food there, he says, "It's a place where things are very accessible. Everything has a very high note of spices. It's fruity, there's a lot of chilis, lots of mint. It is not a shy cuisine."

Lee thrilled Canadian gastronomes when, in 2000, he returned to Toronto from a three-year stint at Singapore's Club Chinois and opened Susur. Just down the street from Lotus, where he first made his name in that city, Susur features exquisite cuisine that reflects Lee's Asian roots, his classical European training and his preternatural talent at creating explosive, memorable flavors. Shortly after the restaurant's debut, Food & Wine named him "one of the hottest chefs alive," a distinction that might make other chefs blush. Says Lee of the honor, "For me, it was a very big achievement. I never got a diploma, so something like this makes me feel stronger, that I am on the map, that I can do more things, have more opportunities."

Lee has been cooking since the age of 14, when he left school to become an apprentice at a hotel in his native Hong Kong. "In the beginning it wasn't a passion," he admits. "I just completed my mission every day and that was it. Then I began to realize that it was a chance to stay up late, to stay away from home, to become mature and work with older people. I realized, damn, I actually get respect from the people around me, and I'm good at what I do! That's what I was thinking at age 18. I began to enjoy it then."

These days, the chef relishes Toronto's unique mix of culinary riches. The city's burgeoning Asian population makes it possible for him to get spices and hearts of palm from Vietnam, and fresh herbs from Thailand and Malaysia. He is also fond of the beech syrup, ice wines and seafood native to eastern Canada. He says that the wine list at Susur is a mix of European and Canadian wines, and expresses the hope that someday he'll be able to include wines from Asia as well. "Some Germans are trying to produce wine in China, in a region where the climate is perfect for growing grapes. So far it is a very lousy wine, though," says Lee.

An avid traveler and father of three sons (with wife and partner Brenda Bent), Lee enjoys exposing his family to new culinary adventures around the world. "One of my best experiences was travelling with my two older sons to Kyoto," he says. "We went to a very traditional Japanese restaurant, owned by a friend of mine. We had beautiful food, very good robata, sushi, raw things, eels. The kids loved it, but by the 13th course, they were rolling around on the tatami mats. And they were a little freaked out by the personal server," he laughs. "They're lots of fun to go out with, and I love them to death. They're my inspiration in my food, and my biggest critics."

TEE TIME IN CHICAGO

jacky pluton

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PLUTON, CHICAGO IL

DESPITE BEING BORN ON A TABLE IN HIS FAMILY'S restaurant in Annonay, France, Jacky Pluton was not sold on the business until returning to the Michelin-starred restaurant some 14 years later to help his father, Albert Pluton, prepare for a New Year's party.

"Before that day, my father would ask me and my brother to help him out, make a few francs and we'd always say no, but one day he sat me down in the corner of the kitchen and I stuffed these giant Spanish mussels for hours," he recalls. "I don't know what it was, there was electricity in the air and everybody was very friendly, and after that I decided to start a culinary apprenticeship." Pluton enrolled in L'Ecole Hoteliere de la Chaise Dieu and began a three-year training program, which he ultimately completed in two years. He also worked in Michelin-starred restaurants throughout France, Monaco and Switzerland, then came to the US, cooking at Le Bee Fin and La Truffe in Philadelphia; Trouvaille and La Goulue in New York; Swissotel and the Lafayette Hotel in Boston; and LaVielle Maison in Boca Raton, Florida. In 1994, Pluton ended up in Highland Park, Illinois, outside of Chicago, at the esteemed Carlos, and two years later, he opened his own restaurant, Provence, in Winnetka.

When asked why he decided to put down roots in the Chicago area, he says, "I didn't decide--the area decided for me. It's a great city, and my cooking fits Chicago very well. I'm a big believer that Chicago will surpass New York." So firm a believer, in fact, that he's working on plans for a television show in which chefs and food writers from various US cities team up to prove their hometown's superiority. "Like a food fight, war of the cities," he explains.

After two years, he transformed Provence into Jacky's Bistro, and moved it to Evanston, where he continued to run it until opening Pluton, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

"When Pluton became what Pluton is," he says, "I realized that I like to be on hand every day. It was very difficult to do that in two places, especially when I had my name on the door in both restaurants." A group of managers and employees approached Pluton with the request that he sell them the restaurant, which allowed him to walk away knowing that his beloved bistro would stay in reliable hands. "I will open a bistro again one day," he promises. "I love that friendliness, the atmosphere."

At present, Pluton is focusing on a new television show, "The Fairway Gourmet", which will run on PBS beginning in the summer of 2005, and a companion book of the same title, due in stores later in the year. Pluton considers himself "a pretty good chef and an average golfer," and is excited to bring his two passions together. "When I was living in Florida, I realized that there are so many things living and growing on or very near to the golf course," he says. "Mango, papaya, lemon, lime, heart of palms, every course has a pond full of fish. And in Wisconsin, on the course you might find watercress, wild strawberries, salmon in the nearby river. In Napa it's all the vineyards right there. And at first I was such a bad player that I was always in the bushes or off in the woods, looking for my ball and finding mushrooms." He's a better player now, and is looking forward to using the show as a platform to teach viewers about regional foods and cooking. The show will also feature one golf segment per episode, with pros giving tips on how to approach different types of holes.

In addition to that which can be found on America's golf courses, Pluton actively promotes the best products from this country's cheesemakers. The restaurant's cheese cart offers only American artisanal varieties because, as Pluton explains, "I'm a big believer that chefs like me, it is our duty to support small cheesemakers in this country. It's easy to go to a store and pick up a great French or Italian or Spanish cheese. To come out with an American cheese that tastes very good is harder, but we have some very talented cheesemakers in this country and we need to support them."

A STUNNING MOSAIC(O)

jordi valles

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

MOSAICO * MIAMI, FL

BEFORE COMING TO THE UNITED STATES, JORDI VALLES TRAINED UNDER SOME OF THE FOREMOST architects of Spain's culinary revolution. He graduated from the Escola Superior d'Hosteleria y Turismo Sant Ignasi in his native Barcelona, spent a year cooking at that city's Tragaluz, and spent another year at Le Chapon Fin in Bordeaux, France. Valles then returned to Spain, to work at Akelarre, in San Sebastian, under Pedro Subijana. He later moved on to Restaurante Arzak, also in San Sebastian, under Juan Mari Arzak, and finally signed on at El Bulli, where Ferran Adria named him chef poissonier after just two weeks.

"Ferran is like a god, no?" he asks, recalling the 1998 season he spent in Roses, Spain. "We brainstormed and created something new every day. At Mosaico, our style is a little bit more moderate. We can't go as far as they do [at El Bulli], because, if you serve smoke foam, for example, people will sometimes not understand."

Valles seems to have learned a lesson from the story of his colleague and countryman Angel Palacios, whose late Miami outpost of La Broche failed to prove profitable even in the face of critical praise. "We just try to do cuisine that is a little more understandable," he continues. Those who worry that Valles has gone the way of surf and turf, however, should be comforted by the chef's menu, which includes the likes of smoked Idiazabal rice, avocado sorbet, sea cucumbers and his newest obsession, barnacles, which he uses to create bechamel-filled croquettes.

Prior to opening Mosaico, Valles spent five years with the Ritz-Carlton company, cooking at its Barcelona, Cancun and Key Biscayne properties and further refining the style that has earned him a guest spot on the Today show, a "Best Spanish Restaurant" designation from the Miami New Times and a glowing review from the Miami Herald's Victoria Pesce Elliot, who raved, "it may not be what you expect, and it certainly is not what you'll find anywhere else in town, but it is a decadently delicious surprise."

Mosaico shares its building, a Mediterranean revival-style former firehouse that was erected in 1923, with Salero, a more casual tapas restaurant that, Valles says, satisfies the Miami lunch crowd's demand for something fast but elegant. Also housed within the building is Cafe Salero, serving Spanish pastries like coca, a specialty of Catalonia, and churros in the style of Madrid, as well as Spanish-style coffee drinks like cafe bon bon, which contains a healthy shot of condensed milk. And finally there's La Tienda, a retail store offering cured meats, cheeses, chocolates, extra virgin olive oil, spices and canned goods imported from Spain.

A TUNA ROLLS IN BROOKLYN

sano yuji

TARO SUSHI NY

BROOKLYN, NY

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ONE MIGHT ASSUME THAT SANO YUJI LEARNED TO COOK IN his family's sushi restaurant, also called Taro Sushi, located just outside of Tokyo but one would be wrong. In his quest to master the art of sushi, Yuji left the family business because, as he says, "It's a Japanese tradition among sushi chefs to be trained by someone outside the family, who will be harder on you, push you farther. Otherwise you will appear spoiled."

As we talk, aided by translator Emi Yaegashi, Yuji slices tuna behind the sushi counter of the five-table restaurant that has become a cult hit among New York's notoriously demanding diners. Drawn by the welcoming atmosphere, impeccably fresh fish and reasonable prices, Manhattanites happily cross the East River to sample Yuji's sushi, and Brooklyn dwellers revel in their newest hometown sensation. Yuji first came to the States 10 years ago, after undergoing rigorous training in Japan; he went home after two years, looking to further refine his skills.

"There are a lot of cooks in Japan who know a little bit of general information, but when they come to the States, they're the ones who know more than the Americans," says Yuji. He adds, "If I were to return to Japan again, I would not be special at all," a modest statement that is hard to believe, especially after you've sampled his perfectly crisp-tender squid tempura. Yuji returned to the States in 2000, and worked at Ise, a Japanese restaurant in Lower Manhattan, until the events of September 11, 2001 forced its temporary closure. He moved on to the now-defunct Gingko, Leaf Cafe in Brooklyn, where the more intimate scale allowed him to begin building a loyal fan base. Yuji returned to Ise upon its re-opening, and remained there until summer 2004, when he opened Taro Sushi NY, realizing a long-held goal.

"I wanted to open a restaurant here because my parents love America, but they are too old and too busy to come and do it themselves," says Yuji. Although his specialty is sushi, he points out that he also trained in the art of tempura for nearly a year, in one of Japan's many restaurants devoted exclusively to its preparation. The tempura dishes he prepared for AC are, for the most part, those that he was trained to make, although he admits that nori rolls containing tempura were conceived by sushi chefs catering to gaijin tastes. The menu at Taro includes American-style selections like California rolls, but Yuji's preferred style is nigiri or edomae, wherein elaborate presentations are eschewed in favor of simple, pure flavors.

"American-style sushi, it looks much more fancy, and is more distinctively flavored. Japanese people like mild white fish, but Americans prefer tuna, salmon, strongly-flavored fish, and spicy sauces," explains Yuji, who tries to introduce his American customers to more traditional Japanese flavors through his omakase, or chef's choice, menu. As he prepares to drop a tempura-battered shrimp into a wok of hot oil, he turns and quietly adds, "They trust me."

RELATED ARTICLE: APPROXIMATE SMOKE POINTS OF COMMONLY USED FATS

FAT * SMOKE POINT (F/C)

Butter, whole * 300 / 150

Butter, clarified * 300 / 150

Coconut oil * 350 / 175

Corn oil * 450 / 230

Cottonseed oil * 420 / 215

Lard * 375 / 190

Olive oil * 375 / 190

Peanut oil * 440 / 225

Safflower oil * 510 / 265

Soybean oil * 495 / 257

Sunflower oil * 440 / 225

Vegetable shortening * 325 / 165

SOURCE: The New Professional Chef. 6th edition by the Culinary Institute of America (John Wiley & Sons, 1996)

RELATED ARTICLE: Cashew Tempura with Foie Gras and Red Wine Apple (Serves 4)

susur lee

Boal 10 Year Old Madeira

Vinhos Barbeito

Madeira Portugal

directions

For the apple jelly: In small saucepan, combine juice and ascorbic acid. Squeeze excess water from gelatin and add to pan. Stir together over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour thin layer over surface of four chilled plates. Refrigerate plates until jelly is set.

For the red wine apple: Place apple in deep pot and cover with wine. Bring to a simmer over low heat and poach 35 minutes, until apple is tender. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature in wine. Once cool, remove apple from wine and, using mandoline or electric slicer, cut into very thin slices. Wrap in plastic and set aside until ready to use.

For the batter: In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, combine oils and heat to 350 degrees. Season foie gras with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in chilled batter, then roll in cashews. Deep-fry in hot oil until batter is golden brown and crispy, about three minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Place one piece of tempura foie gras in center of each plate. Arrange apple slices around tempura to resemble a rose in bloom. Transfer apple butter to pastry bag fitted with #10 tip. Use apple butter to garnish plates. Serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the apple jelly:
1 cup apple juice
Pinch of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
2 leaves gelatin, softened in cold water


For the red wine apple:
1 Fuji apple, peeled and cored
24 ounces red wine


For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon wheat starch*
Pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups ice water
6 leaves cilantro, chiffonade
Salt to taste


For the tempura:
1 quart vegetable oil
1/2 cup hazelnut oil
8 ounces foie gras, deveined and cut into 4 equal pieces
Tempura batter, from above
5 ounces cashews, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
4 ounces apple butter**


*Also known as non-glutinous flour; the by-product of wheat gluten production, used to make a tender dough. Available in Asian markets.

**A preserve of apples, sugar, spices and cider that has been slow cooked and canned. Available in health food stores.

RELATED ARTICLE: Rabbit and Prosciutto with Lentil Tempura, Currant Vinaigrette and Semolina Cake (Serves 4)

susur lee

Bourgogne Rouge

Michel Lafarge

Volnay, France 2002

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

directions

For the rabbit: Lay one piece of rabbit out on work surface and lay one quarter of prosciutto across center. Top with one quarter of spinach, season with salt and pepper to taste, and roll tightly. Secure with butcher's twine. Repeat three times with remaining ingredients. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour.

For the semolina cake: In bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until homogenous. Divide mixture among four round, 2-inch wide, non-stick cake molds. Wrap each mold tightly in plastic. Bring large pot of water to a simmer and poach semolina cakes in simmering water 30 minutes. Remove and let cool before unmolding.

For the batter: In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the currant vinaigrette: In small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together to emulsify. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

For the spiced honey: Whisk together honey and chili peppers. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Cut each rabbit roll into three even pieces. Dredge each piece in chilled batter, then roll in lentils. Deep-fry in hot oil three minutes, until batter is golden brown and crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Place three pieces of rabbit tempura and one semolina cake on each plate. Drizzle vinaigrette and honey around each plate and serve immediately.

ingredients

For the rabbit:
4 rabbit saddles, bones removed, skin intact*
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 ounces spinach, blanched, shocked and drained
Salt and pepper to taste


For the semolina cake:
2 ounces cooked wild rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 1/2 ounces butter, softened
3 ounces semolina flour
 Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste


For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon wheat starch**
Pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups ice water
Salt to taste


For the currant vinaigrette:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste


For the spiced honey:
1/2 cup wildflower honey
1 tablespoon dried red chilis, crushed


For the tempura:
1 quart vegetable oil
Rabbit saddle roll, from above
Tempura batter, from above
4 ounces lentils, soaked in cold water 24 hours, drained and finely
 chopped


*Meat from the rack of rabbit; available at specialty butchers.

**Also known as non-glutinous flour; it is the by-product of wheat gluten production, used to make a tender dough. Available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: Three Tempura Balls with Three Sauces (Serves 4)

susur lee

Brut Special Cuvee

Bollinger

Champagne, France NV

directions

For the lobster and tomato ball: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Arrange tomatoes in single layer on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Cook in oven until nearly dried, about four hours, rotating pan occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Finely chop tomatoes and mix in bowl with lobster and egg whites and season with salt and pepper. Roll mixture into four balls. Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap and cook in steamer 30 seconds. Remove from steamer, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

For the chicken and black trumpet mushroom ball: In bowl, gently mix together all ingredients. Roll mixture into four balls. Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap and cook in steamer 90 seconds. Remove from steamer, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

For the crab and spinach ball: In bowl, gently mix together all ingredients. Roll mixture into four balls. Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap and cook in steamer 30 seconds. Remove from steamer, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

For the green chili and mint sauce: Place chilis and mint in bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade. Add a drizzle of olive oil and start to blend. Continue to add oil in steady stream, blending to emulsify. With motor running, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the tomato and mustard seed jam: In medium saucepot, combine tomatoes, puree, shallots and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by 1/3. Stir in remaining ingredients and continue to simmer until mixture has thick, jam-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

For the saffron and mango sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl of food processor and blend until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the batter: In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Dredge each ball in batter. Working in batches, deep-fry balls in oil until golden brown, about two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To serve: On each plate, place a dollop of each sauce, side by side. Top green chili and mint sauce with one lobster ball. Top tomato and mustard seed jam with one chicken and mushroom ball. Top saffron and mango sauce with one crab and spinach ball. Serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the lobster and tomato ball:
4 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound lobster meat, finely chopped
3 egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste


For the chicken and black trumpet mushroom ball:
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, finely ground
1/4 pound black trumpet mushrooms, finely chopped
3 egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste


For the crab and spinach ball:
1/2 pound crabmeat, finely chopped
1/4 pound spinach, blanched and finely chopped
3 egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste


For the green chili and mint sauce:
2 green chilis, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


For the tomato and mustard seed jam:
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste


For the saffron and mango sauce:
1 cup mango puree
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 teaspoons blended sugar*
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Salt and white pepper to taste


For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon wheat starch**
Pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups ice water
Salt to taste


For the tempura:
1 quart vegetable oil
Batter, from above
Lobster and tomato balls, from above
Chicken and black trumpet mushroom balls, from above
Crab and spinach balls, from above


*A combination of dextrose and cane sugar that dissolves more easily in a liquid; may substitute granulated sugar in equal amount.

**Also known as non-glutinous flour; the by-product of wheat gluten production, used to make a tender dough. Available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: White Snapper Tempura with Squid Ink and Sesame Noodles (Serves 4)

susur lee

Pouilly-Fume Tryptique

Domaine Alain Cailbourdin

Pouilly-sur-Loire, France 2002

directions

For the tomato water: In large bowl, toss together tomatoes, sugar and salt. Transfer to large colander set over large bowl. Let water drain from tomatoes, tossing occasionally, for about two hours. Should yield about 1 cup. In small bowl, whisk together 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons tomato water. Whisk this mixture into remaining tomato water. Heat tomato water in small pot over medium low heat to thicken slightly. Keep warm.

For the batter: In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Break noodles in half and fry in oil, using fine-mesh basket, for 30 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet in flour, then in batter. Deep-fry in hot oil until batter is golden brown and crispy, about two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Place one fillet on each plate. Stick noodles into each fillet at irregular intervals. Surround fish with tomato water. Garnish fish with chives, sesame seeds and shiso flowers. Arrange orange segments around fish and serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the tomato water:
2 pounds large fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon wheat starch*
Pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups ice water
1/2 green onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste


For the tempura:
1 quart vegetable oil
2 ounces thin squid ink noodles
2 ounces thin sesame noodles
4 6-ounce white snapper fillets
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Tempura batter, from above
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
Chopped chives
Toasted sesame seeds
Shiso flowers
Segmented blood oranges


*Also known as non-glutinous flour; the by-product of wheat gluten production, used to make a tender dough. Available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: Shrimp Mousse Tempura, Jicama Roll and Wasabi (Serves 4)

susur lee

Pinai Gris Grand Cru

Pierre Sparr

Alsace, France 1996

directions

For the wasabi mousse: Place cream in stainless steel bowl and whisk in wasabi powder. Season with lemon juice and salt and whisk until mixture is stiff. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the shrimp mousse ball: Place egg whites and shrimp in bowl of food processor and blend until nearly smooth. Add cornstarch and continue to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from food processor, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll all but 1/2 cup of mixture into four balls, each weighing approximately 3 1/2 ounces. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Bring large pot of water to a simmer and poach mousse balls in water four minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.

For the shrimp crackers: In small bowl, combine remaining shrimp mousse, cornstarch and roe. Roll mixture out to 1/16-inch thickness, cut into irregular shapes, and let air-dry until crisp, about an hour.

For the jicama roll: Remove one slice jicama from water and pat dry. Lay flat on work surface. Arrange julienned jicama, mango, celery and basil in a 1-inch line across the width of the jicama slice, about 1/3 of the way from the closest edge. Roll the jicama slice around the ingredients, tucking in the ends as you go. Repeat with remaining jicama slice and fillings. Use a very sharp knife to cut each roll into two pieces. Wrap in plastic until ready to use.

For the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Dredge each shrimp mousse ball in batter, and stick remaining crackers into sides of balls. Deep-fry in oil until golden brown, about two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Arrange 1-inch disk of wasabi mousse, one tempura shrimp ball and one piece of jicama roll close to center of each of four plates. Drizzle purees around each plate and serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the wasabi mousse:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 ounce wasabi powder
Lemon juice to taste
Salt to taste


For the shrimp mousse ball:
2 egg whites
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 ounce cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste


For the shrimp crackers:
1/2 cup shrimp mousse, from above
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 ounce lobster roe, cooked


For the jicama roll:
2 4X4-inch, paper-thin slices of peeled jicama, kept in cold water
2 ounces jicama, peeled and julienned
1/2 mango, peeled, seeded and julienned
1/2 rib celery, julienned
6 basil leaves, chiffonade


For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon wheat starch*
Pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups ice water
2 ounces shrimp crackers, from above, crushed
Salt to taste


For the tempura:
1 quart vegetable oil
Shrimp mousse ball, from above
Shrimp crackers, from above


For the garnish:
Mango puree
Umeboshi puree**


*Also known as non-glutinous flour; the by-product of wheat gluten production, used to make a tender dough. Available in Asian markets.

**Japanese salted plum; available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: Miro Bass with Foie Gras, Port Reduction and Mango (Serves 8)

jacky pluton

Riesling Kabinette

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

Mosel, Germany 2001

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

directions

For the foie gras: Place foie gras in bowl and fold in sugar, celery, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Pack mixture tightly into 16 flexible silicone hemisphere molds. Refrigerate 1 hour to set. When set, gently remove from molds and form eight spheres by gently pressing two hemispheres together at their centers and rolling between hands. Dredge spheres in flour, then egg, then panko, and again in egg and a final time in bread crumbs. In deep fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees and deep-fry spheres until golden brown, working in batches if necessary. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and season with salt and pepper. Drain on paper towels.

For the bass: Season each fillet with salt and pepper and dust with pain d'epices powder. In large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add butter; when it has foamed and subsided, sear four fillets in pan, cooking two to three minutes per side. Remove fish from pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining fillets.

To serve: Place two pieces mango in center of plate and top with one fish fillet. Place one piece scallion atop each piece of bass and top with one foie gras sphere. Drizzle olive oil around mango. Dot plate with Port reduction and garnish with chervil.

ingredients

For the foie gras:
7 ounces foie gras, deveined, at room temperature
Pinch of granulated sugar
1 rib celery, finely chopped
Zest of two lemons, finely chopped and blanched
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and pepper to taste


For the bass:
8 4-ounce miro bass fillets
8 ounces pain d'epices*, dried and ground into dust
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4 X 1 X 3-inch planks
4 scallions, white parts only, cut in half lengthwise and blanched
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Port, reduced to syrup consistency
8 sprigs chervil


*Pan d'epices is a French variation on gingerbread, using a greater array of spices; may substitute gingerbread.

RELATED ARTICLE: Braised Pork Belly and Quail Eggs (Serves 8)

jacky pluton

Crozes-Hermitage

Alain Graillot

Crozes-Hermitage, France 2001

directions

For the pork belly: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large Dutch oven, heat oil until nearly smoking. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add onions, carrots and garlic to pan and stir well to dislodge browned bits. Cook until browned and tender, about five minutes, then stir in wine. Reduce by half, then add stock and thyme. Return pork to pan and add enough water so that liquid comes halfway up sides of meat. Braise in oven 45 minutes to one hour, or until tender. Leave meat in cooking liquid and refrigerate overnight.

For the eggs: Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add vinegar. Gently slip eggs (still in shells) into water and poach two minutes. Remove and let cool. Combine flour and rice dust in small bowl. Peel eggs and dredge in flour mixture.

To serve: In a deep fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 degrees and fry eggs in oil until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon, season with salt and pepper and drain on paper towels. Heat salamander or broiler. Remove pork from cooking liquid, cut into cubes and heat under salamander or broiler until sizzling. Divide pork among plates and top each cube with one egg. Garnish with amaranth sprigs.

ingredients

For the pork belly:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pork belly
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken or pork stock
2 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste


For the eggs:
Splash of white vinegar
8 quail eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wild rice, ground into dust
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
Micro burgundy amaranth, separated into individual sprigs


RELATED ARTICLE: Fresh and Smoked Salmon Terrine, Cauliflower Puree and Caviar with Egg Sandwich (Serves 8 to 10)

jacky pluton

Chopin Vodka

directions

For the salmon terrine: In a pot, combine lobster stock and gelatin and bring to a simmer. Cook until gelatin is dissolved, then remove from heat. Place two planks of smoked salmon in the bottom of a small terrine; place one plank of fresh salmon between them. Fish should cover entire bottom of terrine. Pour in enough stock mixture to completely cover salmon. Repeat the procedure with the remaining three planks of salmon, alternating fresh and smoked. Pour in enough stock to cover this layer and refrigerate until firm.

For the cauliflower puree: In a medium pot, simmer cauliflower and milk over low heat; cook until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Set aside, keeping warm.

For the tapioca blini: In a bowl, whisk together flour, melted butter, beer and egg whites; season with salt and pepper. Fold in tapioca. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1/2 tablespoon butter. Once butter foams and subsides, pour in enough batter to make a 2-inch diameter blini. Repeat procedure with remaining batter, working in batches and adding remaining butter as necessary. Cut blini into 2 X 1/2-inch strips.

To serve: Unmold salmon terrine and cut into thin slices. Place in center of dinner plate. Garnish one edge with beluga caviar. Arrange salmon caviar around edge of plate and garnish every few eggs with a chive. On separate plate, place a dollop of cauliflower puree in center of plate. On one side of plate, arrange three blini strips. On opposite side of plate, create a sandwich, alternating egg yolk, blini, egg white and blini.

ingredients

For the salmon terrine:
1 cup lobster stock
2 leaves gelatin
10 ounces fresh salmon, cut into three planks measuring 13 X 1/2 X
 1/2-inches
10 ounces smoked salmon, cut into three planks measuring 13 X 1/2 X
 1/2-inches


For the cauliflower puree:
1/2 pound cauliflower florets
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste


For the tapioca blini:
4 tablespoons buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons beer
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons tapioca pearls, soaked overnight in cold water
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
1 ounce beluga or osetra caviar
1/2 ounce salmon caviar
4 hard-boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated and sliced
8 chives, bias cut into 1/2-inch lengths


RELATED ARTICLE: Goat Cheese Nougat, Baby Artichokes, Tomato Sorbet and Chervil Pesto (Serves 12)

jacky pluton

Sancerre

Lucien Crochet

Sancerre, France 2002

directions

For the tomato sorbet: In a pot, heat water to 100 degrees, then add remaining ingredients and increase heat to 185 degrees. Whisk briskly, remove from heat and transfer to ice bath. Continue to whisk until temperature drops to 70 degrees. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

For the goat cheese nougat: In a mixer fitted with a paddle, soften goat cheese and, while mixer is running, slowly add heavy cream. Fold in nuts and orange zest and season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to small baking pan lined with parchment paper and spread to an even 1-inch thickness. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the artichokes: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add lemon juice. Poach artichokes in water until tender but firm, about 10 minutes. Remove artichokes from water and cut each into 4 to 6 pieces. Pat dry and set aside. In a bowl, combine rice flour, eggs and enough club soda to make a wet batter. Season with salt and pepper and keep chilled until ready to use. In deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 350 F. Dredge artichokes in all-purpose flour, then in batter and fry in oil until golden brown, turning to ensure even cooking. Remove with slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper.

For the chervil pesto: In blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.

To serve: Cut nougat into 1 X 1 X 2-inch slices and place one on each plate. Top each slice with two artichokes and garnish each artichoke with baby kale. Fold chopped tomato into sorbet and stir in chives and salt and pepper to taste. Place a circle of sorbet mixture on each plate, using a 1-inch ring mold. Garnish with rose petals and watercress. Place a dab of chervil pesto on each plate and serve.

ingredients

For the tomato sorbet:
10 ounces water
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces trimolene*
2 1/2 ounces glucose powder**
1/2 ounce sorbet stabilizer
Pinch of celery salt
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
Dash of Tabasco[R] sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
34 ounces tomato juice


For the goat cheese nougat:
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mixed nuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon candied orange zest
Salt to taste
Pinch of ground black pepper


For the artichokes:
Juice of 1 lemon
12 baby artichokes, trimmed to hearts and stems, choke removed, held in
 acidulated water
1/2 cup rice flour
2 eggs
Club soda, as needed
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste


For the chervil pesto:
1/4 cup chopped fresh chervil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste


For the garnish:
Baby kale***
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
Finely chopped chives
Micro rose petals***
Micro watercress***
Salt and pepper to taste


*A liquid invert sugar, meant to improve texture and maintain color. Available through Chef's Warehouse, www.chefswarehouse.com.

**Dehydrated dextrose monohydrate; used to inhibit crystallization. Available through Chef's Warehouse www.chefswarehouse.com.

***Baby kale, rose petals, and microgreens available through Chef's Garden, 800-289-4644 or www.chefs-garden.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Churros with Chocolate, Mandarin Gelatin and Turron Ice Cream (Serves 8)

jordi valles

Dulce Monastrell

Bodegas Olivares

Jumilla, Spain 2000

directions

For the ganache: In a small pot, scald cream. Place chocolate in a bowl and add hot cream. Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in butter and brandy and transfer to a baking dish. Let cool to room temperature, then freeze overnight. When frozen, use a melon baller to scoop truffle-sized balls from ganache. Combine peanuts and almonds in shallow dish and roll each ball in nuts to coat. Return to freezer.

For the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together egg and flour and add sparkling water, a bit at a time, to create a thick batter. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the mandarin gelatin: Heat 1/3 of juice in a small saucepan until nearly simmering. Add gelatin and continue to warm until gelatin has dissolved. Stir in remaining juice and transfer mixture to a baking dish. Refrigerate until set, then cut into cubes.

For the chocolate caramel: Melt fondant in heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 325 degrees. Add glucose syrup and return mixture to 325 degrees. Remove from heat and when mixture stops bubbling, stir in chocolate. Transfer to a sheet pan. When mixture has cooled but is still malleable, cut into squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Note: this recipe will make approximately 40 pieces of caramel.

For the turron ice cream: In a pot, combine milk, cream and stabilizer and bring to a boil. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and glucose syrup. Temper yolk mixture by adding one-third hot milk mixture to egg mixture while whisking constantly. Whisk tempered yolk mixture back into remaining hot milk mixture and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, then stir in turron. Set in an ice water bath until chilled. Pour into ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Set aside in freezer.

To finish: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, heat oil to 400 degrees. Dredge ganache balls in batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, shake off excess oil and roll churros in sugar. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place chocolate caramel squares on sheet pan lined with Silpat[R] mat and melt in oven until very malleable. Cover with parchment paper and roll to 1/8-inch thickness, then remove parchment and return to oven for two minutes. Working quickly, use fingers to stretch chocolate caramel and create "wave" shapes. Serve churros on plate with chocolate caramel wave, two gelatin squares and a quenelle of ice cream alongside.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the ganache:
8 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate couverture, finely chopped
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce brandy
2 ounces chopped peanuts, toasted
2 ounces chopped almonds, toasted


For the batter:
1 egg
5 ounces all-purpose flour Sparkling water, as needed


For the mandarin gelatin:
16 ounces freshly-squeezed mandarin orange juice, strained
4 sheets gelatin


For the chocolate caramel:
7 ounces fondant
7 ounces glucose syrup
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate couverture, finely chopped


For the turron ice cream:
16 ounces milk
8 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ice cream stabilizer
6 egg yolks
5 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces glucose syrup
5 ounces Turron de Jijona*


To finish:
Canola oil, for frying
Ganache balls, from above
Batter, from above
1/2 cup granulated sugar


*Soft almond nougat candy from Spain, available through La Tienda.

(888) 472 1022 or www.tienda.com

RELATED ARTICLE: Roasted Turbot with Four Textures of Sweet Potato (Serves 4)

jordi valles

Priorat Blanco

Mas D'en Compte Crianza

Catalonia, Spain 2001

directions

For the batter: In a bowl, combine yeast and water and mix until yeast dissolves. Stir in flour and sugar and set aside in a warm place for three hours.

For the turbot: In a bowl, combine sausage and butter and mix well. Divide mixture into two equal portions and flatten into discs. Season turbot with salt and pepper on both sides. Place fillets on flat surface, place one chilled sausage and butter disc on each fillet. Carefully place one fillet atop the other so that the "stuffed" sides face each other. Gently wrap the fillets together with caul fat or tie together with butcher's twine. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

For the sweet potatoes: Cut 1/2 sweet potato into 1-inch thick circles. In a small saucepan, combine circles, 1 cup olive oil, garlic and rosemary and heat to a simmer. Cook over very low heat until potatoes are very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let potatoes cool in oil. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Using an electric slicer on the thinnest setting, cut one sweet potato into slices. Arrange slices on Silpat[R] mats or sheet pans lined with parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook in the oven until potatoes are very crisp, about 1 hour. Cut 1/2 sweet potato into 1/2 X 1/2 X 3-inch sticks. Heat canola oil to 350 degrees in deep-fryer or tall-sided pot. Dredge sticks in batter and fry in oil until golden brown Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut remaining sweet potato into eight pieces and steam until very tender. Transfer to blender, add butter and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

To finish: In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until nearly smoking. Saute turbot on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Remove turbot from pan and let rest two minutes. In small saute pan, heat remaining oil over high heat until nearly smoking. Add confit sweet potatoes and cook until golden brown and crisp. Season with salt and pepper. Remove string from turbot and cut fish into 4 equal portions. Place fish in center of plate and top with battered sweet potatoes. Garnish with sweet potato chips, confit and purse.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the batter:
1 teaspoon fresh yeast
1 cup water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar


For the turbot:
5 ounces sobrassada sausage, finely chopped*
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 1-pound turbot fillets
Caul fat or butcher's twine
Salt and pepper to taste


For the sweet potatoes:
Three sweet potatoes, peeled
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 sprig rosemary
Canola oil, for frying
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste


To finish:
3 tablespoons olive oil
Stuffed turbot, from above
Salt and pepper to taste


*Soft pork sausage from Majorca, available through La Tienda, (888) 472-1022 or www.tienda.com

RELATED ARTICLE: Fried White Anchovies with Fava Bean Salad and Arugula Oil (Serves 4)

jordi valles

Sherry

Jarana Fino Lustau

Jerez, Spain, NV

directions

For the batter: In a bowl, lightly beat eggs, then stir in flour and beer. Mix gently and set aside for one hour at room temperature.

For the onion marmalade: In a large saute pan, warm oil over medium heat and add onions. Toss to coat with oil and increase heat. Saute onions five minutes, until they begin to brown, then add 1/2 cup water. Cook over high heat until water evaporates, then add another 1/2 cup. Repeat procedure, using remaining water. When onions are very browned and have begun to lose their structure, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the salad: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lentils in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes; drain and cool. In separate pot of salted, boiling water, blanch fava beans, then immediately drain and shock in ice bath. Once cool, peel beans. Blanch asparagus tips in salted, boiling water and shock in ice bath. In a bowl, combine lentils, fava beans, asparagus tips and tomatoes; toss to combine. In small bowl, whisk oil into vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Keep both refrigerated until ready to serve.

For the arugula oil: Blanch arugula in salted, boiling water until bright green. Immediately drain arugula and shock in ice bath. Once cool, remove from water and squeeze to extract all water. Transfer to food processor fitted with metal blade and process, slowly drizzling in oil to form emulsion. Pass through fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

For frying: Heat oil to 350 degrees in deep-fryer or tall-sided pot. Dredge anchovies in batter, shaking off excess, and fry in oil until golden brown, working in batches. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Spread onion marmalade on one side of each slice of bread. Top each slice with a few anchovies and divide servings among four plates. Toss salad with vinaigrette. Divide salad among plates and garnish with arugula oil.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the batter:
3 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light beer


For the onion marmalade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste


For the salad:
1/4 cup lentils du Pug
1/4 cup fresh fava beans, shelled
4 asparagus tips
1 tomato, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


For the arugula oil:
1 pound arugula
1 cup canola oil


For frying:
Vegetable oil, as needed
2 pounds fresh white anchovies, cleaned and bones removed
Batter, from above
Salt and pepper to taste


To serve:
4 slices coca bread, warmed in oven or on grill*


*Unleavened, oval-shaped bread, a specialty of Catalan; may substitute any rustic flat bread.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tempura Tendon (Serves 4)

sano yuji

Sapporo beer

directions

For the tentsuyu sauce: In a pot, combine water and konbu and bring to a boil. Just before water boils, add katsuobushi. Reduce heat and let simmer five minutes. Skim as much katsuobushi as possible from top of pot; remove from heat and strain through colander lined with cheesecloth. In a bowl, combine 3 cups liquid (reserving the rest for another use), light soy sauce, mirin, sugar and tamari. Keep warm.

For the rice: In a rice cooker, combine rice, water and konbu. Cook according to manufacturer's instructions. Once cooked, keep warm and moist until ready to serve.

For the batter: Beat yolks in small bowl until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Whisk in water and sake, then sift flour into bowl. Mix just enough to moisten flour, letting lumps remain.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, combine vegetable and sesame oils and heat to 350 degrees. Make several 1-inch slits in each piece of eggplant. Make six or seven 1/4-inch slits on underside of shrimp and press flat with thumbs. Make three or four 1/4-inch slits across skin side of sea eel and on both sides of kisu. Dredge all vegetables and seafood in flour and pat off excess, then dredge all but shishito peppers in batter. Fry battered vegetables and seafood in oil until batter is light golden brown and crispy, working in batches to avoid lowering oil temperature. Fry floured peppers in oil for 30 to 45 seconds. Drain on paper towels.

To serve: Divide rice among four serving bowls. Dip each piece of tempura in sauce and arrange atop rice. Pour as much remaining sauce as desired over each portion and serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the tentsuyu sauce:
1 3/4 quarts water
1 piece konbu, approximately 3X2-inches*
1 ounce katsuobushi**
6 ounces light soy sauce
6 ounces mirin
1 ounce granulated sugar
1/2 ounce tamari soy sauce


For the rice:
2 cups rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 piece konbu, approximately 5X2-inches*


For the batter:
2 egg yolks
10 ounces ice water
Splash of sake
8 ounces all-purpose flour


For the tempura:
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
4 2X1X1/4-inch slices eggplant
4 medium shrimp, peeled
4 1-ounce pieces sea eel
4 1-ounce pieces kisu***
4 shiso leaves
8 shishito peppers****
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


*Dark, thick, slightly sweet Japanese seaweed, sold dried; available in Asian markets and health food stores.

**Bonito fish that has been boiled, dried, smoked, cured and shaved into paper-thin flakes; available in Asian markets.

***Also known as silver sillago; a freshwater fish native to Japan. May substitute smelt or perch.

****Small green peppers with thin walls, wrinkled skin and sweet-hot taste. Available in Asian markets. May substitute jalapeno peppers.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tempura Inside-Out Rolls with Spicy Sauce (Serves 2)

sano yuji

Sapporo beer

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For the tume dipping sauce: In small saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Stir together, bring to a boil and cook at a simmer until reduced by half. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.

For the rice: In a rice cooker, combine rice and water and cook according to manufacturer's instructions. When rice is cooked, stir in vinegar, sugar and salt and keep warm and moist.

For the batter: Beat yolks in small bowl until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Whisk in water and sake, then sift flour into bowl. Mix just enough to moisten flour, letting lumps remain.

For the spicy sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Transfer to squeeze bottle and keep chilled until ready to use.

For the asparagus tempura roll: In a deep fryer or tall sided pot, combine vegetable and sesame oils and heat to 350 degrees. Dredge each asparagus spear in flour and pat off excess, then dredge in batter. Fry in oil until batter is light golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Lay nori flat on sudare (bamboo sushi mat) or parchment, smooth side down. Place 1/4-inch layer of sushi rice over closest 1/3 of nori surface. Arrange avocado slices over rice in desired pattern and press gently to adhere. Carefully turn nori so that rice side is facing down. Spread even line of spicy sauce across center of nori. Lay asparagus tempura across sauce, side by side. Roll nori tightly around asparagus so that rice and avocado are on outside of roll, pressing mat or parchment to make roll tight. Cut roll in half crosswise, then cut each half into two pieces.

For the shrimp tempura roll: Make six or seven 1/4-inch slits on underside of each shrimp and press flat with thumbs. Dredge each shrimp in flour and pat off excess, then dredge in batter. Using oil from asparagus, fry shrimp until batter is light golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Lay nori flat on sudare (bamboo sushi mat) or parchment, smooth side down. Place 1/4-inch layer of sushi rice over closest 2/4 of nori surface. Carefully turn nori so that rice side is facing down. Spread even line of spicy sauce across center of nori. Lay shrimp tempura end to end across sauce. Top shrimp with masago. Roll nori tightly around shrimp so that rice is on outside of roll, pressing mat or parchment to make roll tight. Press tobikko and aonori onto outside of roll. Cut roll in half crosswise, then cut each half into three pieces.

For the squid tempura roll: Dredge each piece of squid in flour and pat off excess, then dredge in batter. Using oil from asparagus and shrimp, fry squid until batter is light brown and crispy. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Lay nori flat on sudare (bamboo sushi mat) or parchment, smooth side down. Place 1/4-inch layer of sushi rice over closest 2/3 of nori surface. Carefully turn nori so that rice side is facing down. Spread even line of spicy sauce across center of nori. Lay squid tempura end to end across sauce, arranging so that bodies are in center and tentacles protrude from ends. Roll nori tightly around squid so that rice is on outside of roll, pressing mat or parchment to make roll tight. Sprinkle sesame seeds over roll. Cut roll into five even pieces.

To serve: Arrange all pieces on serving platter. Serve with tume dipping sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste alongside.

ingredients

For the tume dipping sauce:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 1/4 cups mirin
1/4 cup zarame*


For the rice:
2 cups sushi rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons salt


For the batter:
2 egg yolks
10 ounces ice water
Splash of sake
8 ounces all-purpose flour


For the spicy sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Tabasco[R] sauce
1 tablespoon shichimi**


For the asparagus tempura roll:
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
3 spears asparagus, trimmed and peeled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Tempura batter, from above
1/2 sheet toasted nori***
1/2 cup sushi rice, from above
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into thin slices
1 tablespoons spicy sauce, from above


For the shrimp tempura roll:
2 medium shrimp, peeled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Tempura batter, from above
1/2 sheet toasted nori***
1/2 sushi rice, from above
1 tablespoon spicy sauce, from above
1 tablespoon masago****
Pinch of toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons tobikko*****
1 tablespoon aonori******


For the squid tempura roll:
4 baby squid, cleaned and peeled, tentacles separated from bodies
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Tempura batter, from above
1/2 sheet toasted nori***
1/2 cup sushi rice, from above
1 tablespoon spicy sauce, from above Pinch of toasted sesame seeds


For the garnish:
Tume sauce, from above
Pickled ginger, sliced
Wasabi paste


*Zarame is Japanese granulated brown sugar, found in some Asian markets. May substitute demerara or regular brown sugar.

**Shichimi is a spice blend that contains sesame seeds, dried seaweed, dried tangerine peel, chili powder and poppy seeds. Available in Asian markets.

***Nori is a mild-flavored seaweed, pressed into sheets and used to form sushi rolls, or as a garnish. Available in Asian markets.

****Masago is Icelandic caviar popular in Japan, bright orange in color, with a subtle flavor. Available through Marky's Caviar, www.markys.com or (800) 722-8427.

*****Tobikko is flying fish roe; available through Collins Caviar, www.collinscaviar.com or (800) 226-0342.

******Aonori is blue-green seaweed, sold in flakes and often used as garnish. Available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: Shrimp Tempura Two Ways (Serves 4)

sano yuji

sapporo beer

directions

For the batter: Beat yolks in small bowl until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Whisk in water and sake, then sift flour into bowl. Mix just enough to moisten flour, letting lumps remain.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, combine vegetable and sesame oils and heat to 350 degrees. Toss prawns and peppers in flour; place in colander and bat sides to knock off excess. Dredge prawns and peppers through batter and fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about three minutes for prawns, 20 seconds for peppers. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Make six or seven 1/4-inch slits on underside of shrimp and press flat with thumbs. Roll shrimp in arare and press to coat completely. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about three minutes. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Divide prawns, peppers and shrimp among four serving plates. Garnish with lemon and serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the batter:
2 egg yolks
10 ounces ice water
Splash of sake
8 ounces all-purpose flour


For the tempura:
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
4 prawns
8 shishito peppers*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 medium shrimp
1/2 cup pellet-shaped arare**


For the garnish:
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges


*Small green peppers with thin walls, wrinkled skin and sweet-hot taste. Available in Asian markets. May substitute jalapeno peppers.

**Cracker made from sweet brown rice. Available in Asian markets.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tempura Soba (Serves 4)

sano yuji

Sapporo beer

directions

For the broth: In a pot, combine water and konbu and bring to a boil. Just before water boils, add katsobushi. Reduce heat and let simmer five minutes. Skim as much katsobushi as possible from top of pot; remove from heat and strain through colander lined with cheesecloth. In a clean pot, combine liquid, soy sauce and mirin and bring to a simmer. Keep broth warm.

For the batter: Beat yolks in small bowl until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Whisk in water and sake, then sift flour into bowl. Mix just enough to moisten flour, letting lumps remain.

For the tempura: In a deep-fryer or tall-sided pot, combine vegetable and sesame oils and heat to 350 degrees. Toss scallops, shrimp, mushrooms and mitsuba in flour; place in colander and bat sides to knock off excess. Divide seafood and mushroom mixture into four batches and dredge through batter. Press one batch of mixture into small frying basket to create a hollow cup and fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about three minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining mixture. Drain on paper towels.

For the soba: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add soba noodles. Boil until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and distribute among four serving bowls.

To serve: Bring broth to a boil; pour hot broth over noodles. Place one tempura "basket" in each bowl, atop noodles. Garnish with wakame and negi and serve immediately.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ingredients

For the broth:
2 quarts water
1 piece konbu, approximately 5X2-inches*
1/2 ounce katsuobushi**
6 ounces light soy sauce
6 ounces mirin


For the batter:
2 egg yolks
10 ounces ice water
Splash of sake
8 ounces all-purpose flour


For the tempura:
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
8 medium scallops, finely chopped
8 medium shrimp, finely chopped
4 shiitake mushroom caps, finely chopped
8 sprigs mitsuba, tied into loose knots***
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


For the soba:
8 ounces soba noodles


To serve:
Broth, from above
Tempura, from above
1 ounce wakame, soaked and drained****
1 ounce negi, julienned*****


*Dark, thick, slightly sweet Japanese seaweed, sold dried; available in Asian markets and health food stores.

**Bonito fish that has been boiled, dried, smoked, cured and shaved into paper-thin flakes; available in Asian markets.

***A Japanese herb with a faint carrot-like flavor. May substitute parsley.

****Long, thin strands of seaweed, often used in salads. Sold dry; available in Asian markets.

*****Japanese green onion; may substitute scallion.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Culinaire, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Back to Basics
Publication:Art Culinaire
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:10835
Previous Article:Industry spotlight.
Next Article:Portland: confluence and evolution in Portland, Oregon.
Topics:


Related Articles
BEYOND FISH STICKS.
Editor's note.
Temple fair means whole lotta latkes.
Ice cream sickens Lane County boy.
Knives, forks and spoons are for sissies.
Rice-based batter cuts oil absorption by half.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |