Tag: Grilled

Notable Nosh: Tuna Tataki

Empire Grill Tuna Tataki

Aside from the odd can for making tuna salad sandwiches, I have only ever eaten tuna raw. With this particular dish, recently sampled at the Empire Grill in Ottawa, I only just managed, barely, to break with that tradition…

In my post featuring Beef Tataki, which explains in a bit more detail the specific Japanese grilling technique in question, I mentioned that the process is sometimes applied to fish, and, as you can see, the tuna in this particular case is very nearly raw all except for a tiny margin around the edges. It is this brief grilling that allows the tuna to develop a range of flavors beyond that of the purely raw article and the Empire Grill managed, I must say to do a very nice job.

The slices of tuna, crusted with white and dark sesame seeds were served over a bed of seaweed dressed with soy and ginger. This salad, which certainly added to the visual appeal of the presentation, was very pleasant in both texture and taste, although I rather suspect that a pre-packaged seaweed was used rather than prepared from scratch. The dark sauce you can see was not mentioned in the menu description but it had a very good umami taste that makes me think that soybean paste may have been present.  In any event, it worked really well with both the fish and the seaweed.

My only real criticism about this dish was that the tuna slices were ever so slightly dry. The waiter confirmed for me that the sesame seeds are pressed into the meat after grilling and I rather think that the restaurant probably prepares a large section of fish then keeps it pressed by wrapping tightly before slicing individual portions as ordered. This would make sense for restaurants to do but it does, if I am right in my guess, result in a slight diminution of the nice, soft texture of a freshly prepared piece. Still, this was really only a minor flaw and I really enjoyed the dish as a whole. I look forward very much to trying at home sometime as soon as fresh tuna appears in our local store…

 

Beef Tataki

Beef Tataki 01

You could probably call this Japanese Steak Tartare, or maybe Japanese Carpaccio, but the proper appellation is Beef Tataki, where the ‘Tataki’ is actually the name of the specific cookery technique involved.  This technique was originally used specifically for steaks of Bonito Tuna but has now been widely adapted for beef as well. Essentially, it involves grilling meat (or fish) very briefly over high heat to sear the outside and then cooling it rapidly to prevent further cooking, thus leaving the interior almost raw. The result is most commonly served sashimi style but can be easily put to other uses. In either event, the technique is one well worth having in your repertoire…  Continue reading “Beef Tataki”

Butterflied Grilled Chicken

Butterflied Grilled Chicken 01

You can certainly barbecue a whole chicken in its original shape (either with or without a spit), but butterflying it and opening it up so that it lays flat on a grill allows not only for a faster barbecuing time, but ensures more even cooking too. We will take a look at this technique in today’s post and, if you have never tried butterflying a chicken before, don’t worry… it’s really very simple…  Continue reading “Butterflied Grilled Chicken”

Notable Nosh: Grilled Salmon Collar

Salmon Neck

Most westerners when preparing a nice sized fish will simply hack off the head and neck and then discard it before utilizing the rest of the flesh as fillets or steaks. The more frugal will sometimes use the head, along with the tail and bones, for making fish stocks, but generally, the head end largely gets ignored despite the fact that it contains quite a bit of delicious meat.

The ‘collar’ of certain fish (salmon, halibut and ling-cod, especially) is actually the ‘neck’ of the fish. Indeed, the one you see pictured above was served to me at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa, where it was described on the menu as ‘Grilled Salmon Neck’. The neck consists of the narrow strip just behinds the gills and includes the pectoral fins and the thick, solid collarbone. There is not much meat here (only about 2 or 3 tablespoons on the one you see above), but, as Asian cuisine has long appreciated, the high fat content of the flesh from this area makes it an especially delectable treat. For my money, in fact, this little tidbit is far superior in texture and taste than the succulent meat near the tail on a salmon.

Ken’s salmon collar is grilled with a sweet soy and mirin glaze, which is a typically Japanese way of preparing this treat. It was garnished with sesame seeds but these were clearly added after grilling and there was no trace of sesame taste, whether from oil or the fresh seed, in the finished dish. It was, I have to say, very nicely done, being tender and succulent, but I did also think that the presentation, at least for a Japanese restaurant, was a bit lacking.

Anyway folks, if you haven’t tried this particular cut yet, I urge you to seek it out. If you live in a larger center with a decent fishmonger, particularly one serving an Asian clientele, it is possible to purchase collars individually. Failing that, the next time you have a nice size salmon to cook, save this piece and try it on the barbecue…

Chili Cumin Jumbo Shrimp

Chili Cumin Shrimp 1

After sampling several Northern Chinese BBQ dishes at the Ju Xiang Yuan Restaurant in Ottawa some time ago, I tried reproducing one of their offerings and posted it as Grilled Squid with Chili and Cumin. The restaurant also does shrimp grilled the same basic way (which I didn’t try, but mean to rectify sometime), and I thought I would give it a try at home first. I am departing from the general method used by the restaurant (they dust with ground dried chili, cumin and sesame seeds), and instead used a chili paste that is first slightly sweetened… Continue reading “Chili Cumin Jumbo Shrimp”

Notable Nosh: Grilled Sanma

Sanma 1

When I ate at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa last December, there were several items on the menu that I wanted to try but just couldn’t manage on that occasion. On my most recent visit to the capital, however, I rectified that situation and the offering that most interested me was the fish appetizer identified as ‘Grilled Sanma’ … Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Grilled Sanma”