Friday, October 21, 2011

Seven Days of Alton Brown #2! A Dashi of Irony plus a Bonus!

Welcome to day two of my adventures into the world of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Today we’ll head to the orient, which I’m sure will amuse you. I think I can actually say it is ironic since I rarely have the inclination to pursue Asian cooking, in spite of having very close familial resources to learn from, and now that I am pursuing it, I am taking my cues from a white guy. Moving on now!

Today’s application is making Dashi which I’ll be using for another recipe later. With the leftovers from the dashi I’ll make a little bonus dish. Here are the exotic ingredients: Kombu seaweed and katsuoboshi, also known as bonito flakes.

Some special things that you need: Cheesecloth and a strainer.

Special things that would be helpful: A kitchen scale.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 001

The kombu was purchased from a Korean market, and the sheets of seaweed were huge!  Only need two four inch pieces for this application, so some handy scissors will trim those out.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 002

Wipe them down with a damp cloth to get this lovely silky sheen.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 003

And drop them into a pot with 2.5 quarts of water. That’s ten cups people.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 004

Put the pot onto a burner set to medium heat. Bring the water up in temperature to 160 degrees F. Don’t mind the word beef, there’s no beef in this recipe.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 006

While that’s going we can measure out the bonito flakes.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 007

There we are, half an ounce of bonito flakes.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 010

If you don’t have a scale, it is about two cups, pressed down ever so slightly.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 011

I missed the shot, but at 160 degrees, take out the seaweed sheets and save them for another purpose. Then bring the water up to a boil.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 012

Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat then toss in the bonito and give it a stir.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 013

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 014

Yum right?

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 015

After ten minutes of simmering on low heat, drain it through some cheesecloth.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 016

Then  you’ll have a lovely bowl of dashi, with which to make some miso soup, which will be tomorrow’s application.

misoandchickpeas 001

Now for the bonus! After straining and pressing out the bonito flakes for the dashi you are left with… this lovely mass of fish stuff. I know, not the most appealing sight. We’ll fix that in a jiffy.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 024

Very simple layout if you’ve got the stuff. From the top left and clockwise: 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, half a teaspoon of sugar and the leftover bonito flakes.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 018

If your sesame seeds are already toasted, great, if not, lets get to it.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 019

In a non stick pan over medium heat, toss the seeds in. Swirl steadily with a wooden implement until they start to change color.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 020

It’s subtle, and perhaps I could have made them slightly darker, but this works.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 023

The sugar and wet ingredients can be incorporated by the way. No need to dirty all these bowls unless you were planning on taking photos to blog about.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 025dashiglazedbonitoflakes 026dashiglazedbonitoflakes 027

Next start cutting up the bonito flakes back into, well flakes. In my case I could roll them up and make several thin slices.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 028

And slice across those to make some fine pieces.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 031

Get your non stick back up to medium heat and toss in the fish flakes.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 032

They’ll start to dry out correctly in a few minutes, and you can tell they are drying out when a few flakes start to move from the heat like paper fans in your skillet.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 033

This looks about right. Now be really ready for the next step. I highly recommend you not do this with a camera.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 034

Pour in the mirin-soy sauce-sugar mix.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 035

Pause the briefest of instants to admire the bubbling of it.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 036

And start moving things around like crazy.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 037

Keep going, seriously.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 038

When the bottom gets sticky  I think it is time to move on. Turn the heat off and move off.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 039

Add in the sesame seeds and start working them into the glazed flakes.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 040

Spread them out onto a plate to cool.

dashiglazedbonitoflakes 041

Then enjoy with steamed rice, or perhaps with fish.

misoandchickpeas 033

These flakes are packed with flavor.

misoandchickpeas 031

Tomorrow, miso.

No comments:

Post a Comment