Friday, 7 November 2008

fusion gone horribly right

Japanese/Italian dinner party. Weeeeheeeee!

the menu
Green tea polenta with edamame and aduki beans. Pine nut/ume/basil rolls. Caramelized carrots with fancy-pants mustard. Blanched daikon with miso and mirin. Salad. Sliced plums. Green tea tiramisu. Japanse whiskey (Nikka).

For the green tea polenta (serves 8): 3c polenta (not quick cooking). Water, salt. Start cooking as usual for polenta, using about 3c water. While this is going on, make 1 cup strong green tea, preferably genmaicha (green tea with brown rice). When the polenta is about halfway cooked, add 1/2- 1c. sake and let it absorb that. Continue adding water until it's almost done. The trick is that you want the polenta to absorb the tea, but not cook long after you add the tea, or it will get bitter. Then add the tea (strained). Cook until done. Pour into a pan and pop it in the fridge overnight. Have cooked aduki beans on hand, and some shelled edamame. About 30mins before serving, slice up the polenta, schmear it with olive oil and bake. While it's baking, fry up a chopped leek and make another cup of double strong green tea. When that begins to brown, deglaze with sake. Add the edamame and some salt. Turn the heat down and simmer. Let the green tea cool. About 5 mins before serving, stir a tablespoon of cornstarch into the green tea, and then pour that into the leek/edamame mix. Heat until the sauce thickens. Add cooked aduki. Place the polenta on a serving dish and pour the bean/tea mix over it. Sprinkle with a few crushed tea leaves.

For the pine nut/ume/basil rolls, which are kind of like asian pesto sushi: Soak 1c pine nuts in just enough water to cover overnight. Drain. Blend along with a bit of fresh ginger and some salt. Chill. If it's still too liquid to scoop, stir in pulverized almonds until the paste is thick enough to hold it's shape when you scoop it. Spread on soy paper sheets, then add fresh basil leaves and some chopped up ume, using the same technique that you would use if you were making miniature sushi rolls where the pine nut spread is the rice and the basil leaves/ume are the filling. Chop up the rolls into 6-8 pieces per roll. You want to make these small because they're pretty rich and intense. The soy wrappers (used in place of nori sheets) are called soy wrappers, and are from a company called yamamotoyama, and I'd never seen them before, but I'm a fan now. They weren't blurry in real life. I just had to show you the pretty colours.

The carrots are really just caramelized carrots with some fancy mustard added. The green tea tiramisu is from My Sweet Vegan.


Anonymous said...

Holy fusion awesomeness, Batman! Don't think I ever would have picked those two styles of foods to go togehter. Guess it just takes a basic knowledge of what flavours and textures and processes are similar in both cuisines to know where they will overlap well.

sinead said...

Actually, it took a long conversation with a friend on fusion cuisine, and us noticing that Japanese/Italian was something we'd rarely seen, and then we were inspired by the green tea tiramisu in the My Sweet Vegan cookbook...

I love this polenta. I will soooo be making it again. It's subtle and comforting. I think it's probably imprortant to use a good genmaicha for it... the little taste of toasted rice really rounds out the dish.

Try it. You'll like it...