Thursday, June 23, 2005

Surf N Turf

A night at the Sizzler with steak and fried shrimp? Not at my house, my friends. What I'm talking about here is two nights of excellent eats with seafood and land mammal themed dishes.

Sunday was fondue night. E and I picked out some emmenthaler and chardonnay at a local procurer. Next door we picked up some pancetta and boudin blanc sausage, a baguette and some fresh organic California asparagus. I don't have any photos of the creative process but when it was through we had this to deal with:

Tough work, but we got through it all right! If you are ever tempted to buy one of those premade fondue packs, don't do it. Just do it right and buy some good cheese and wine and you'll be glad you did.

That was the turf. Now how about the surf? I hope you like tako (octopus). We picked out a few choice legs from a local Japanese grocer and I butchered them at home with my Shikoku knives:

Our wiggly little buddy. Click to enlarge.

I managed not to eat all of the tako before it got to the dish. The last time I ate this much eight-legger was in the mountains above Kochi City on the island of Shikoku in southwestern Japan. A buddy and I bought a couple legs, cut them up, and ate them with an incredibly simple sauce that we made. I think it was soy sauce, mayo and wasabi or mustard but I can't quite remember. I almost went crazy trying to make it again and didn't exactly succeed. Plus, this tako wasn't as fresh as I would have liked, but I dealt with it.

What we were on our way to making was Okonomiyaki (literally "what you like grilled"), a tasty potato pancake-style concoction of Japanese origin. It varies greatly from region to region, and mine is definitely Tokyo style. I decided to take special care with each of the ingredients so the final dish would be as good as it possibly could. First I fried the mushrooms in my brand new lodge cast iron frypan.

These pans are the BEST. They hold heat really well and you don't ever have to worry about scratching them. For E's birthday I bought her a couple of Calphalon pans which she really adores. They are really great, not even in the same ballpark as my lodges. But you can't use any metal implements with them, which is a drag. You could drop my pans off a ten-story building and not damage them. Using them, I also fried up the pork that was to top/fill the okonomiyaki. I mixed some of it in with the dough as well as the remaining tako, the mushrooms, some scallions, katsuo (bonito) flakes and cabbage. Halfway through they looked like this:

They need to be flipped to cook all the way. So I flipped 'em. It's at this point that you want to put some toppings on them, so I put pork, katsuo, scallions and cabbage on top:

The finished product, as it should, looked something like this:

We paired it with a light saké and garnished with kagome 'ketchup' and kwepie 'mayonaise'.


Blogger ktchn said...

crikey, are these photos scratch and sniff? I can smell the wonderful aromas from here!

11:59 AM  
Blogger lindaweaverfamily said...

Vegetables are great, but the Heart Start Defibrillator is better (At saving your life, that is ;) ).

8:33 PM  
Blogger lindaweaverfamily said...

Vegetables are great, but the Heart Start Defibrillator is better (At saving your life, that is ;) ).

8:55 PM  

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