Making Fabulous Sushi at Matsuhisa Athens

Hi Fran!!

I love your macaroons! Coconut enveloped in sweetness with a nice crisp exterior and a soft chewy interior… oh yum! And, if there is any dark bitter chocolate lingering around, I also love to drizzle them with it.

However, as you know from Clark and my Temaki sushi post, I have another very very soft spot – sushi. My love for sushi knows no limits, I could have it every day and would still want more. It had been a little while since my last indulgence in this raw deliciousness, and to address this,  Zoe(my sister) and I went to a fabulous sushi class at Matsuhisa Athens (Nobu) yesterday. It was great! The class was very intimate, with only 5 of us as students. We gave our knife skills a go and played with fire in the professional kitchens. All of these recipes appear on their current menu and cookbooks.

As anyone who has tried to make sushi can attest to, what appears in the photo and on your plate at home are two completely different things – and as far as I am concerned any tips and tricks are always welcome! So, yesterday we made the following:

  1. White Fish Tiradito
  2. Tuna and Salmon New Style Sashimi
  3. White Miso Soup
  4. Red Miso Soup
  5. Clear Soup
  6. Financiers

One word: delicious.

WHITE FISH TIRADITO

This first dish was incredibly simple and absolutely divine. Specially since you love ceviche, this dish is a must, it is a very delicate Japanese ceviche. Made with white fish, which is cut very thinly into 9 pieces per portion. It is precisely set on a plate in a wheel form, with small pieces of cilantro at the tips of each piece of fish, dotted with rocoto(hot chili paste from Peru, but you could use Sriracha instead), then sprinkled with salt flakes and then drizzled with yuzu juice(or you can use 2 parts lemon, 1 parts yuzu juice (or lime is also fine)). Must be eaten immediately to avoid overcooking the fine fish.

At the top is the version we made at Nobu, here is the one we made at home

TUNA AND SALMON NEW STYLE SASHIMI

This was my absolute favorite! It is delicate, impressive and really fun to make. (Photo at the very top.) It was created originally for a client who wanted to eat sashimi without having to eat raw fish – go figure! It is literally cooked inside the serving plate. Lemony, smokey and just enough sauce.

For this dish, the fish is again cut very thinly into 9 pieces per portion, and precisely set on a plate in a wheel form. Then, we grate garlic, and using our finger, spread the oils secreted carefully on each slice of fish. Place 2 very finely julienned pieces of ginger(3 cm long), and top with 2 pieces of chive (chopped into 3 cm pieces). Then, in a small sauce pan heat new style oil (9 parts olive oil, 1 part sesame oil) until it smokes. Once oil reaches desired temperature, drizzle generously with yuzu soy sauce(5 part soy, 2 parts yuzu(or lime)), sprinkle with plenty of toasted sesame seeds. Very carefully, bring plate close to the hot oil, and with a small ladle, drizzle each piece of fish very lightly with the hot oil – it will sizzle and steam as it lands on every piece. Again, eat immediately!

Zoe and I both loved it so much, that we had to make it again for dinner. Yes, we are that ridiculous, but our parents just had to try it the same day to truly appreciate the glory. I’ll tell you more about that a little further down in the post.

THE SOUPS

Simple, delicate and light. We learned that there are 2 types of miso, white is aged less than 6 months, while red miso is aged almost 1 year. Predictably, the latter is much more potent, but has left me undecided on which I loved the most.

All of the soups we made, and in the broader Japanese cuisine, use “Dashi” as the stock. It is quite easy to make, but does not keep very well for long. So it is best to be made when shortly before it is used. 1 liter of Dashi is made by placing 1 liter of cold water to heat with a 15 cm piece of Kombu (thick leathery piece of seaweed), until water is about to boil. Remove from heat and remove the piece of Kombu. Return to heat and add 30gr Bonito flakes, cook until almost boiling and remove from heat. Line a strainer with a wet paper towel, placing it on top of the designated Dashi storage container, and strain the clear fragrant Dashi into the container (do not squeeze the bonito flakes to secrete more of their juices).

Absolutely lovely, and I want to experiment some more with it, look out for recipes.

FINANCIERS

An absolutely lovely dessert, especially after so many flavours throughout the day. Each one was tiny and so cute! It had a fine flavor of browned butter, paired with the wonderful nuttiness of ground almonds; and the texture was perfect. The outside had a very fine crispness to it, contrasted by the moist and fluffy interior. Although I have already played around with browned butter in the Brown Sugar Lemon Curd Ice Cream Baked Alaska, I had not understood that you actually have to burn the butter. When we made it yesterday, we literally burned off all the milk contained in the butter, resulting in some black patches along the bottom of the sauce pan.

… but we didn’t stop here…

Energized with all this newly acquired knowledge, Zoe and I headed to the super market to put together a glorious end to this absolutely fabulous day!! :)

Menu #2:

  1. Salmon New Style Sashimi
  2. Tuna Tartar
  3. Miso Soup
  4. Various Rolls with Tuna and Salmon  (among the rolls were: spicy salmon rolls, salmon skin handrolls, tuna avocado rolls, rainbow roll)

Just to demonstrate how crazed and into it we got, we filleted our own small Greek Tuna to ensure that it was the freshest we could find! As you can imagine, the preparation took a lot of work, but was absolutely worth it. The tuna tartar which we made with the less than ideal pieces of fish from our amateur filet skills, was exquisite! We slightly adapted  Ina Garten’s recipe for Tuna Tartar to make it, and majorly shrank the portions (divided the recipe by almost 10!!)

TUNA TARTAR RECIPE

serves 4 as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 very fresh tuna steak (size of the palm of the hand) 
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lime, zest grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp wasabi powder
  • 3/4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hot red pepper sauce (Sriracha or Rocoto)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp tabasco 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the tuna steak into very small dice (1/2 cm or 1/4 in), place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate while preparing the sauce.
  2. Place all ingredients together in a small bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. When ready to serve, pour the sauce over the finely diced tuna and fold mixture carefully until sauce is thoroughly distributed.
  4. In the serving plate, place a round cookie cutter(10 cm, 4 inches in diameter) and fill carefully with tuna tartar mixture. Gently press down on the mixture to ensure the shape is perfectly packedand level, and slowly slide cookie cutter up and away from the tuna “tower”. Garnish with a chive and wasabi mayonnaise if desired(1 tsbp mayonnaise, 1 tsp lime juice, large pinch wasabi powder).
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