Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yuzu, Ponzu and Binchyou too - Sesame Seared Albacore with Ponzu Miso-Damari

Ponzu is a simple yet flavorful sauce. The Sauce usually served at your favorite sushi restaurant upon ordering the Seared Albacore. It is perfectly salty and tangy without being overpowering yet rich in Umami to add savoriness to any dish.

There is one problem though, Ponzu is made with Yuzu, an Asian citrus reminiscent of grapefruit with hints of orange sweetness but the acidity of a key lime or lemon. Extremely fragrant with floral notes, this fruit is seldom seen in the United States. Thus is my obstacle with making it at home. I am attempting to at least get close to Yuzu by mixing Grapefruit, Orange, and Key Lime juices for flavor with Meyer Lemon Zest and Makrut Lime Leaves for fragrance.

Yes, is would be a WHOLE lot easier if I could just find the fruit. LOL

Ponzu Miso-Damari and Ponzu Shoyu are the quick versions of this Japanese Sauce. True Ponzo is made with Mirin (Sweet Rice Wine) and steeped for 24-48 hours with the Bonito and Konbu. But in the essence of time constraints I have decided to make what is technically Ponzu "Soy sauce". Although, I have chosen to use Tamari instead of Shoyu (soy sauce) mainly because of current "brewing" practices. I am allergic to soy products, unless they have been fermented as with true Miso or Black Bean Paste (although I have recently discovered that manufacturers are cheating on the black bean paste as well).

Tamari is simply the liquid run-off collected during the pressing and fermentation of the soybeans while making Miso. Most soy sauce (shoyu) is made from Hydrolyzed Soy Protein instead of brewed from natural bacterial and fungal cultures. If the bottle says "Carmel Color", it's fake. This is the sort of thing I am allergic to -- Soy Protein Isolates & TVP being on the list as well.

There is a secondary issue, not so much for me, but I know for others. True Tamari is a wheat free product, thus a good choice for those who are eliminating gluten from their diets. Soy sauce contains wheat, even the fake stuff has wheat in it. If you see Tamari brewed with wheat listed on the label, then it is not real Tamari, but 'poser' Soy Sauce. This may or may not be intentional, there was a name brand of soy sauce called Tamari, thus where the confusion begins as the names have become somewhat synonymous with each other, but let me assure you they are VERY different products. Tamari is thicker and has a richer much more refined and subtle flavor, withough being overly salty like Soy sauce.

Ponzu Miso-Damari

1/4 cup Tamari (as opposed to Shoyu or Soy Sauce)
4 tsp Orange Juice
4 tsp Key Lime Juice
4 tsp Grapefruit Juice
1/2 tsp Meyer Lemon Zest
1 Makrut Lime Leaf (both lobes); Chiffonade
2 TB Rice Vinegar; Unseasoned
optional - 1 3 inch piece of Konbu (Kombu - Sea kelp)
optional - 1 1/2 tsp Bonito flakes (dried, flaked Yellow Fin Tuna; AKA Katsuobushi)

Before we get started, lets talk Makrut Lime leaves. The Makrut (Kaffir or Thai) Lime has a double lobed leaf.

First, these should be separated.

Fold the leaf over

and run your knife down the length of the stem to remove it. (cause you REALLY don't want that part)

Then lay the leaves in a stack and

slice as thinly as possible.

OK, Back to the recipe....

In a glass jar or measuring cup, combine all ingredients

and stir or shake gently.

Store covered in a cool dark place for 1 hour if using the bonito flakes.
If you skipped the Bonito, go ahead and refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors meld, then proceed.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discarding any citrus pulp solids and bonito flakes.

Store for 2 months in refrigerator.

Bring to room temperature before using it on.........

Sesame Black Pepper Seared Albacore (Binchyou)

This is not really a recipe... just a method. And yes, in case you were wondering about the title of this post, Binchyou is Japanese for Albacore Tuna. ;)

Albacore Steaks
Black Sesame Seeds
White Sesame Seeds
Cracked Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
Sesame Oil (for Rubbing and Searing)

First, dry the tuna with paper towels.

Fill a shallow dish with sesame seeds.

Rub with a little bit of Sesame oil.

Hit it with salt and cracked pepper.

Place, salt and pepper side down, into the sesame seeds; then rub the facing side with more sesame oil.

Hit it with salt and cracked pepper again.

Lift the Tuna steak and add more sesame seeds, then place the uncoated side down.

Add a little sesame oil to a skillet set over Medium heat.

Add the tuna and sear for about 2 minutes.

Flip and sear the other side for 2 more minutes (This really depends on teh thickness of your steak, mine was about 1 inch thick.)

Remove from pan and slice.
Arrange slices on a plate with Ponzu Miso-Damari and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions if desired.



Bob said...

I've never been able to eat tuna steaks, the mostly raw thing skeeves me out too much. It looks lovely, I just can't do it.

Patti T. said...

Lots of interesting information there Shane. I will have to check out some tamari sauce. My niece is on a gluten free diet, so I will let her know about this also.

girlichef said...

This looks so tasty!! I love the Asian flavors...I'm really craving them lately, so this would hit the spot :D

Spryte said...

That looks sooooo good!!!!!!!!!!