Kasu-marinated Sturgeon with Grilled Rice Cakes, Umaboshi Plum Vinaigrette, and Beet Oil
This brilliant example of Pacific Rim cuisine combines sturgeon fillets, a marinade of sake lees, a sweet-sour plum vinaigrette, and warm sauteed cakes of short-grain rice.
- Sturgeon and Marinade
- Kasu (sake lees) - 1/4 cup
- Grated fresh ginger - 1 teaspoon
- Fresh Cilantro - 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Mirin (sweet sake) or Sweet Sherry - 1/4 cup
- Plum Vinaigrette and Puree
- Japanese umaboshi pickled plums - 5- to 6-ounce jar, pitted
- Rice Wine Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Ginger oil - 3/4 cup, (recipe follows)
- Shallots - 3 tablespoons, minced
- Rice Cakes
- Short-Grain Rice - 1 cup
- Water - 2-1/2 cups
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Clarified Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Plum Puree - 3/4 cup, reserved (above)
- Nori Strips (Japanese seaweed) - four, 3/4-inch-wide
- Clarified Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup
- Daikon Sprouts - 3 ounces
- Enoki Mushrooms - 3 ounces
- Beet oil (recipe follows)
- Ginger Oil (Makes 3/4 cup)
- Ginger - 1/4 cup, minced
- Canola oil - 3/4 cup
- Beet Oil (Makes 3/4 cup)
- Beet Juice - 2 cups
- Canola oil - 1/2 cup
To prepare the sturgeon and marinade: Combine the kasu, ginger, cilantro, black pepper, and mirin or sherry in a blender or food processor, then process to a paste. Spread this on both sides of the sturgeon fillets, place them in a non-aluminum container, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
To make the vinaigrette and puree: Puree the plums in a blender. Reserve 1/4 cup of the plum puree. Place the remaining puree in a medium bowl and whisk in the rice wine vinegar, ginger oil, and shallots. Set the vinaigrette aside.
To make the rice cakes: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice, water, and salt. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the rice among four 3-inch-diameter stainless steel rings to make 3/4-inch-thick rice cakes. Press the rice firmly into the rings, then remove the rings. In a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the clarified butter and cook the rice cakes until golden and thoroughly heated, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Spread the reserved plum puree on the rice cakes and wrap a strip of nori around each cake.
Scrape most of the paste marinade from the sturgeon fillets. In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 1/4 cup clarified butter and saute the sturgeon fillets until they are nicely browned and starting to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. (It is important that the fish be thoroughly cooked to retain the moisture). Set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the garnish: Remove the root ends from the enoki mushrooms. Combine the sprouts and mushrooms and toss with 1/2 cup of the plum vinaigrette.
To serve: Pool some of the remaining vinaigrette in the center of each plate. Place a rice cake on top of the vinaigrette on each, and arrange a sturgeon fillet alongside each cake. Garnish each plate with enoki mushrooms and daikon sprout garnish. Put the beet oil in a squeeze bottle and dot the plates with beet oil.
In a small saucepan, combine the ginger with the oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit for 2 hours. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
In a heavy, medium, non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat, cook the beet juice until it has reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the canola oil to make an emulsion. Cover and store in the refrigerator.