Tuesday, 7 May 2013

EN Japanese - Big in New York

A visit to EN-Japanese was a special treat for us after a few days exploring New York.  I will be the first to admit that I am completely useless somewhat of an amateur when it comes to Japanese cuisine, especially of this calibre.  We hadn't had the time book and seemed pretty lucky to get a table, arriving just as a group departed.  We were taken through to the central part of the restaurant, to a large oval, communal table that surrounded a dramatic floral arrangement.  The service was impeccable from start to end and watching the chefs preparing all sorts of dishes in the open kitchen added to the experience.  I'd guess that even if you're a Japanese food guru, this place will astonish.  It takes age-old gastronomic traditions and injects them with a mix of contemporary ideas and innovation.  I ordered a variety of wonderful small tasting dishes; my favourite being the assorted Japanese mushrooms and sun-dried daikon radish with yuzu.  A dish that for me had the most intense and purest flavour profile of anything I've ever eaten.  The next leg of our culinary adventure took us to a blue miso crab soup, followed by yam and edamame wrapped in nori, fried and served with natural sea salt.  Each dish had such complexity of flavours and textures and all were completely new to my palate.  The duck and potato, covered with a mochi rice cake and served in a dashi broth dazzled my taste buds and amalgamated my thoughts on the night.  Grub I had never tasted before, served in a way that was completely new to me with combinations I would never have dreamed of, fashioned with such finesse that the result was something that not only worked but made absolute sense.  Add to this the extensive wine list, enough saki to sink a battle-ship and a variety of tasting menu's and you're faced with a restaurant that is at the very top of it's game.  And probably at the pinnacle of new-age Japanese cooking.   

The chefs at EN-Japanese gave me a recipe that turns broccoli rabe and bamboo into something worth drooling over.

Nanohana and Takenoko Nuta-ae (Broccoli Rabe and Bamboo Shoot dressed in Su-miso)

  1. 1 bunch of broccoli rabe (also known as rapini or broccoletti)
  2. 1 tin of bamboo shoots (or freshly sliced or precooked if you can get your hands on some)

Dashi broth:
  1. 1 litre Dashi
  2. 100cc Soy Sauce
  3. 10cc Mirin
Su-miso dressing:
  1. 100g Saikyo Miso
  2. 100g White Miso
  3. 40g sugar
  4. 60cc rice vinegar
  5. 30cc Sake
  • Make the Dashi broth by bringing all the ingredients to a boil
  • take off the heat and leave half the broth hot and chill the other half
  • place 1 bunch of broccoli rabe in a pot with enough water to cover, and boil for 30 secs
  • immediately place broccoli rabe into the chilled Dashi broth
  • put bamboo slices in the hot Dashi broth in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer on a low heat for 3 mins
  • then place the entire pot in a cold bath
  • refrigerate both broccoli rabe and bamboo slices in their respective broths overnight
  • squeeze excess Dashi broth from the broccoli rabe and cut broccoli into 2cm pieces
  • take bamboo slices out of the Dashi broth and combine with the broccoli
  • make the Su-miso dressing by combining and mixing all the ingredients
  • toss the bamboo and broccoli in the Su-miso dressing 

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