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Once and Future Cuisine
Photo by Lacey Elaine Tackett
Chef Andon Whitehorn shares a recipe for local veg-stuffed greens with fatty fish and allium dashi.
Published July/August 2016
Local Veg-Stuffed Greens with Fatty Fish and Allium Dashi
By Andon Whitehorn
Veg-stuffed leafy green parcels:
1 head sturdy, leafy greens (cabbage or mustard)
1.5 lb. mixed seasonal vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, and/or green garlic), diced
1 tsp kosher sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1-2 oz. neutral oil (vegetable or soybean)
8 cups water
¼ pound allium (green onion, garlic, or shallot), diced
1-2 cups neutral oil
4 cups water
1.5 tsp kosher sea salt
Reserved vegetable and allium scraps from the other recipes
1 piece Kombu
1 lb. sustainable fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, or arctic char), skin removed
2 oz. kosher sea salt
2 oz. sugar
2-4 oz. vinegar like rice wine, or white
Aromatics like dill, fennel, brassica flowers, etc. to taste
For the veg-stuff leafy parcels:
Set oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a little neutral oil. Toss with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake alliums for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, before adding the rest of the vegetables and baking for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Vegetables should be tender, but not falling apart. Add roasted vegetables to a food processor and process until a uniform consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and set aside. Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Take the leafy greens and cut out several round pieces using your stainless round cutters. Cover and set aside. Place a piece of plastic wrap down with a leafy green round in the middle. Add a 1/4 of the roasted vegetable mixture to the middle, and close up the leafy green as best you can with your fingers, then take the plastic wrap and close it opposite corner-to-corner, twisting the excess plastic wrap and shaping it into a ball with the veg-stuffed leafy greens inside. Set aside. Boil these little plastic-wrapped veg-stuffed leafy green parcels for 4 minutes each (you can cook three to four at a time). Remove from boiling water and immediately shock them in ice water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using scissors, gently remove the veg-stuffed leafy parcels from their plastic wraps and gently pat dry, discarding the plastic wrap. Set aside and refrigerate.
For the infused oil:
In a small pot, add alliums to oil. Bring up to a medium simmer before dropping the temperature and gently simmering until the alliums are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Add contents of pot to a blender/food processor and carefully process until well-incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter. Cover and refrigerate.
For the allium dashi:
In a medium pot, add water, salt, vegetable scraps, and kombu. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and reduce heat to the lowest setting, steeping for at least 1 hour. Strain the dashi through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter and measure the final volume. If your yield is less than 4 cups, add water to bring it back to that amount.
For the fish:
Heat some neutral oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and gently but quickly add the fish skin to the skillet, flattening with a metal spatula. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Remove from heat and place on a couple of paper towels to drain excess oil. Combine salt and sugar into a small bowl, making sure both are evenly incorporated. Remove pinbones from the fish fillet, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the fish in a vessel large enough to hold the fillet, liberally sprinkling the salt and sugar mixture on both sides of the fish. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight. Gently rinse the fillet of the salt and sugar mixture. Pat the fish dry, before placing over a damp paper towel, adding a damp paper towel to cover the fillet. Gently pour over the vinegar, making sure to saturate both the top and bottom layers of paper towels. Allow to cure in the vinegar for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. Remove from vinegar-soaked paper towels and gently rinse before again gently patting dry. Set aside and refrigerate.
Warm a bowl and reheat the leafy green parcels if needed. Reheat the allium dashi (broth) if needed. Place 2-3 leafy green parcels in each bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the fatty fish fillet on a bias (against the grain) into thin pieces. Arrange these pieces atop the leafy green parcels. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the infused oil over the fish and leafy green parcels. Gently kiss with salt (a scant pinch, not too much). If applicable, break or cut the crisped fish skin into bite-sized pieces and arrange across the top. Arrange aromatics across top. Pour 1-2 oz. of the dashi along the side of each bowl, creating a pool along the bottom. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the infused oil into the dashi, creating small spheres of oil on the surface. Gently kiss with salt.