Scallop Crudo with Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam

This was the first course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. Originally, I had another course before this but I cut it once I realized that the duck confit would take too much of my time and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

Serves 6.

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[100% organic, wild scallops]

For the Fennel Foam

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • Bouquet garni: white peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, fennel fronds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a pan, sweat the onion, fennel, and bouquet garni with vegetable oil. Once the vegetables have soften, deglaze with white wine. Reduce until au sec, then add the cream and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend well. Do not strain. Pour purée into a whip cream dispenser and charge twice. Keep warm.

For the Salad

  • 2 packets brown shimeji mushrooms
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 1 cup neutral oil

Cut base off of mushrooms (save for stock making) and cut off ends of green beans. Blanch in salted water then shock in iced water.

In a blender, blend on high the cilantro leaves and oil. Blend until the oil is warm, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth/coffee filters. Reserve oil into a squeeze bottle.

For the Finish

  • 18 diver scallops, soaked in salted cold water, drained, then sliced
  • Shimichi Togarashi
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cilantro oil (from above)
  • Micro cilantro
  • Fennel fronds (if saved, and I forgot to use it)
  • Sea salt/Maldon salt
  • Lemon

TO ASSEMBLE

In a bowl, lightly toss blanched mushrooms and green beans with cilantro oil,  lemon juice, and salt. Slice scallops into thin rounds.

On the plate:

  1. Season mushrooms and green beans with lemon, cilantro oil, and salt. Arrange salad.
  2. Place scallops on plate, season scallops with crushed sea salt, lemon, and togarashi.
  3. Squeeze an odd number of fennel foam dots.
  4. Garnish with micro cilantro, pomegranate seeds, fennel fronds, and more cilantro oil.

Cauliflower Soup with Shimeji Mushrooms, Edamame, Haricots Verts & Celery Leaves

This was the second course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I loved the cauliflower soup so much at Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar so I sought to recreate it for this holiday party. I poured the soup table-side. The soup was really delicious and I want to make it again!

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[100% organic]

For the Soup

  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cauliflower heads, green leaves removed
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • Milk, to taste
  • EVOO, to taste
  • Salt & freshly ground white pepper

Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside.

In a pot, sweat the onions on low heat in olive oil until translucent and soft. No coloration! Add the cauliflower and enough water to cover. Season to taste and bring to a boil then turn heat down to a low simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add milk and EVOO to adjust consistency then set aside and keep warm.

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For the Garniture

  • 2 packets of shimeji mushrooms
  • ¼ lb green beans, cut on the bias
  • ½ cup edamame, shelled and skinned
  • Celery leaves from 1 head of celery

In a pot of salted water, blanch the mushrooms then shock in ice water and drain, set aside.

The edamame is usually cooked so after shelling and skinning, blanch for 1 second and shock in ice water. Drain, set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange the garniture evenly in eight bowls. Pour the cauliflower soup to cover garniture or table-side.

Fingerling Potatoes & Green Bean Salad in Miso Dressing

I love eating fingerling potatoes; they go great in salads and they’re so cute! I really liked this salad dressing and I’m finding more ways to use miso paste.

[100% organic]

For the Miso Dressing

  • 2 TBS chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 2 TBS miso paste
  • 3 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS honey
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Salt & freshly group pepper

In a large bowl, place the minced shallots, garlic, mustard, miso paste, rice vinegar, honey, and juice of half a lemon. Whisk them well until fully incorporated. In a steady stream, add in the EVOO while constantly whisking until fully emulsified. Then fold in the chopped chives.

For the Salad

  • ¼ lb green beans
  • ¼ lb fingerling potatoes
  • 2 cups salad leaves

Cut off the ends of the green beans and cut them in half. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the green beans and then place in an ice bath. Boil the potatoes until soft in the middle, about 15-20 minutes. Peel the skin and chop into thin slices. Toss the salad ingredients with a few tablespoons of the dressing and serve.

Macédoine de Légumes

Macédoine de Légumes, one of the most popular salads of the late nineteenth century, is still frequently served in Parisian bistros. The elements in such a salad can be bound together with a variety of different dressings: vinaigrette, cream & vinegar sauce, mayonnaise, or hard cooked-egg sauces. The recipe here uses a simple mayo but other flavored mayo such as tomato, tarragon, or basil are also possible.

Tonight was salad night and I honestly didn’t think that I would enjoy the class because I’m not a fan of salads. Salad, to me, is just a bunch of random leaves/vegetables scattered on a plate. There’s no “cooking” involved. But what I didn’t know is that salads actually have diabolic plans to entice the perfect individual. If you know your food, salads are a good way to test a restaurant on their chefs’ skills. I did not know that until tonight when my chef instructor told us that. Everything has to complement each other and the dressing has to support the salad greens.

I was very happy when I made this salad, Macédoine de Légumes, and when I presented it to my chef instructor, he loved it!!!! I was so elated.

*From the French Culinary Institute.

Green Bean Salad

It’s weird of me to eat something purely vegetarian… for lunch, a couple of days ago, I just had this and I felt satiated – partly because I had a huge breakfast. I love eating blanched green beans… I feel like a happy rabbit.

[100% organic]

  • ¼ lb green beans, blanched
  • 1 TBS capers
  • Handful of croutons
  • 1 TBS butter

Melt the butter and fry the capers for 1 minute. Mix everything together and toss well.

Salmon with Crispy Capers & Lemon Zest

Basically the same exact dish, back in 2009, except I substituted the sashimi tuna with sashimi salmon. It’s such a beautiful day in Hong Kong, warm and sunny (24°C/75°F). I already busted out my summer-wear and the locals are still walking around in winter fur coats. Seriously? Are you not hot? Since the Japan earthquake and tsunami, I wasn’t sure if the grocery stores in Hong Kong would have safe non-radiated sashimi but luckily, salmon is a global trade and the salmon in this dish was Norwegian.

The other only thing I did different today was that I sprinkled some extra lemon zest over the fish and salad.

[100% organic & Norwegian salmon]

Recipe here, Tuna with Crispy Capers & Lemon Zest.