|Ming Tsai signing autographs|
Andrew Zimmern – Bitter is the New Black
looking forward to seeing him again this year. He gave an enlightening discourse on what he feels is the least appreciated and understood of the five flavors: bitterness (the other four being sweetness, sourness, saltiness and umami). As the hottest trend in mixology today is the
Negroni cocktail, with a bitter flavor derived from Campari liquer, Zimmern would like to see
this same type of trend happen in the food world. Although bitterness historically has served mankind as a warning sign of poisons, I was willing to lend him an ear.
Kalustyan’s in New York City.
A well-known television personality who hosted East Meets West from 1998 to 2003, Ming Tsai was someone I watched religiously when I started my first foray into cooking as a newlywed. He currently owns and operates Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA. I almost forgot I was in a cooking class as he regaled us with stories of working in his family’s restaurant, his love of four-letter words and catering disasters. For no reason in particular, I rarely eat (or make) Chinese food these days, but I was reminded of how much I love it and miss it. While sipping a Ty Ku Sake
Sangria (see recipe below) he skillfully prepared scallion pancakes, pork and ginger dumplings, and stir-fried spicy beef and vegetables in the 45 minute class. Yum, yum…I think that after a few of these sake sangrias I will be ready to give a couple of his recipes a try (for more information on the recipes, feel free to email me).
crudo (raw fish) dishes using local (to Philadelphia) fish such as fluke, albacore tuna and mackarel (see fluke recipe below). Filleting them in front of us in seconds, he prepared three beautiful, yet simple, presentations while emphasizing the importance of knowing what to look for in fresh fish: clear (as opposed to red) eyes, red gills, body firm to the touch with a bit of bounceback. So what am I waiting for? I am off to the store for the ingredients and will report back! In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend.
1 T sesame oil
1 T peanut oil
3 T shallots
2 T curry powder
1 T minced ginger
2 t minced garlic
1 T minced lemon grass (white mass only)
1 t minced fresh hot chili
4 T sake
2 T soy sauce
Heat the oils in a sauté pan. Add all ingredients except sake and soy. Sweat for 5 minutes. Add sake and soy and cook until liquids are nearly evaporated. Removed from heat, cool and purée.
Ty Ku Sake Sangria
1 750-milliliter bottle rosé
1 750-milliliter bottle Ty KU Silver
1 750-milliliter bottle Lillet Blanc
5 ounces peach Mathilde
2.5 ounces cranberry juice
16 ounces pineapple juice
Fresh pineapple chunks and cranberries for garnish
Mix all liquids and regrigerate 4-8 hours. Serve in chilled glasses garnished with fruit.
One fluke filet (can also use grouper or bass)
2 sheets kombu seaweed
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3 small radishes, thinly shaved, for garnish
3 sprigs dill for garnish
3 T fruity EVOO
1/2 T sea salt
fresh ground white pepper
Wet kombu and rinse. Sandwich filet between two sheets of kombu and cure for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from kombu and slice filet on a bias into 1/4-inch pieces, working towards the top of the fillet. Arrange the fish on a platter. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the fish, and garnish with radishes and dill. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, season with sea salt and white pepper to taste. Three things to look for in his dishes: salt, texture, and acidity. In this dish, he uses sea salt, a
radish for texture and lemon juice for acidity. The zest, he says, adds nuance and brightness, the sprigs of dill are for color.