The first day of level 6, May 17, it was my night being at the entremetier station again. Level 5 gave us the freedom to design a vegetarian entrée, and in level 6, we have to come up with a canapé/amuse bouche for service, part of the first of a 5-course dinner. To maximize product usage and cut down on waste, canapés/amuse bouche are made with scraps, trimmings, and leftovers in the kitchen.
We were given three meats: pulled duck leg, pulled chicken leg, and marinated hamachi. No was else jumped at the task so I was more than happy that I got to do it on the first day. Being aware of the previous class and how much time they got, I was only given a limited time to plan, prep, make, and plate all the canapés: 40 minutes. That’s not a lot of time but at the end, I pulled it off, along with some assistance towards the end. I just grabbed whatever I could get my hands on.
Originally, my idea was to wrap the hamachi with the shiso leaf along with a 1-inch stripe of coconut milk paste and one line of julienned Thai chili peppers, served with the yuzu-sake sauce and garnished with a julienned red bell pepper. However, when I made my three testing spoons, the chef instructors didn’t like how it was “spicy”. It tasted good they said but to start off a heavy multi-course dinner with something so “spicy” doesn’t do well for the stomach. The production chef told me that for any other event, such as a pool party or somewhere serving cocktails, the spiciness would have been perfect. Personally, I didn’t think the peppers were that spicy but that’s because I eat spicier foods.
So here’s the final product from school:
I didn’t bring my camera that night so I don’t really like the photos that I took at school with my iPhone. I decided to redo it with the stuff I had at home. I didn’t have any bell peppers lying around but I had lotus root (for the crunch texture) and toasted nori sheets. At home, I have just ponzu by itself but if you don’t have an array of Asian ingredients in your pantry, you can just buy ponzu sauce which is the yellowy yuzu mixed with soy sauce.
[100% organic, farmed yellowtail hamachi]
For the Marinade
- 3 oz. hamachi fillet
- 1-inch ginger, grated
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup ponzu
- ¼ sake
- 1 lime, juiced
Mix all ingredients and marinade for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
For the Sauce
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- ¼ cup ponzu
- ¼ sake
- ¼ lime wedge, juiced
Mix and set aside.
For the Finish
- Half a 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
- Equal mixture of 2 TBS cornstarch and water
- 2-3 TBS powdered sugar
- Shiso leaves, stem removed
- 1 red Thai chili pepper, julienned
- 1-inch small lotus root
- Toasted nori strips
In a small pot, bring the coconut milk to a simmer and whisk in powdered sugar. Depending on how sweet you like your coconut milk, add the full 3 TBS of powdered sugar. Once the coconut milk is to your desired sweetness, slowly add in the cornstarch mixture and continue whisking to remove lumps in the coconut paste. It is not necessary to use all the cornstarch mixture, just until it comes together and is less fluid-like. Immediately place in an ice bath to cool down.
For the lotus root, peel and then slice thinly with a mandolin. Make sure to place shaved lotus root in a bowl with water and a splash of vinegar. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the lotus root for a couple of minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath, drain again. Cut each lotus root slice in half so that it fits into the Chinese spoon.
Drain fish from marinade and cut into ½-inch strips.
The wrapping is like making sushi: place the shiso leaf with the presentation side down, landscape oriented. Brush/spoon with coconut paste along the center (on the stem). Line with one hamachi strip and 1-2 julienned chili peppers. Roll from bottom to top edge and using a very sharp knife, slice off ugly ends and then in half.
Place halved lotus root slice onto spoon, place hamachi shiso sushi on top. Spoon ½-1 tsp of the sauce and garnish with toasted nori strips.