Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Fluke (Momofuku Ko)

Fluke with Buttermilk, Soy & Poppy Seeds
Serves 8

You've had the salty pig chip. And the buttery English muffin. Now it's time for raw fish. We cycled through a few ideas before this one, but when it came together, it was a clear winner: not too weird (in fact, the buttermilk and hot sauce have a Buffalo wing kind of thing going on — the night we made it for the first time, a couple weeks before Ko was set to open, we ate all the extra buttermilk dressing drizzled onto baked potatoes) and very simple looking. We had talked about the dish for months — Serpico and I pirated the poppy-seeds-with-fish idea from the langoustine carpaccio with roasted poppy seed dressing we ate during a research lunch at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Midtown — but we never tried to make it until just before we opened, because we knew it would work.

If you can't find great fluke for the dish, substitute similarly sliced diver scallops. Some nights, we mix up the menu and alternate fluke and diver scallops between diners.

Buttermilk Dressing (recipe follows)
•Two 10- to 12-ounce (280- to 360-gram) skinless fluke fillets
•4 teaspoons (12 grams) Shiro Shoyu Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
•2 teaspoons (7 grams) poppy seeds
•2 tablespoons 1-inch-long chive batons
•Maldon salt

1. Put a tablespoon or so of the buttermilk dressing in the bottom of each of eight chilled shallow bowls.

2. Thinly slice the fluke a little less than 1/4 inch thick. (Bonus points for slicing the fluke on a 30- to 35-degree bias — not so exaggerated as a traditional 45-degree bias cut, but with a little more finesse than the slices will have if you just cut with your knife perpendicular to the cutting board.) Fan the slices out over the buttermilk dressing.

3. Add ½ teaspoon of the vinaigrette to each plate, around the rim of the buttermilk sauce. Scatter 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds over each serving, and follow with some chive batons and a tiny pinch of Maldon salt. Serve at once.

Buttermilk Dressing
Makes ½ cup

•1/3 cup (100 grams) buttermilk
•2½ tablespoons (30 grams) sour cream
•Scant ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt, or more if needed
•Generous 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sriracha (Asian chile sauce), or more if needed

Whisk together the buttermilk and sour cream in a small bowl. Whisk in the salt and sriracha, and taste: it should have some heat but it shouldn't be "spicy." Add more salt or sriracha to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use, or for up to a few days.

Shiro Shoyu Vinaigrette
Makes about 1/4 cup

•1/4 cup (70 grams) shiro shoyu (white soy sauce)
•1/8 teaspoon (2 grams) bottled sudachi lime or yuzu juice
•1½ teaspoons (7 grams) mirin
•A tiny dot (0.5 gram) green yuzu kosho (jarred yuzu and chile paste)

Stir together the soy sauce, lime juice, mirin, and yuzu kosho in a small bowl. Store for up to a month in the fridge.

Reprinted from Momofuku by David Chang & Peter Meehan (Clarkson Potter, 2009)