Makes 12 pieces
Harking back to Nobu's days making sushi in Peru, this nigiri-zushi uses lozenges of fried potato in place of the more typical shari "rice" base. The humble potato is a native pre-Columbian staple, as central to the Peruvian diet as rice is to that of Japan. If you can't find Peruvian yellow potatoes, then go for russet or any all-purpose fluffy baking potatoes. Along with wasabi, here the yakumi condiments are grated ginger, minced scallions and momiji oroshi—grated daikon radish mixed with red chili. Just a little of each goes a long way to bring out the sweet richness of the duck meat and cleanse the palate of any fatty aftertaste.
1. Score the fat side of the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern, cutting about halfway through the fat. Season both sides with shichimi spice powder, salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan and put in the duck breast, fat side down. Cook slowly on medium-low heat to render some of the fat and achieve a nice golden color. Turn and cook the other side briefly. Remove the duck breast from the pan and allow to rest.
2. Cut the potatoes into 12 lozenges about 1-1/2 in. (3.75 cm) long by 1/2 in. (1.25 cm) thick. Rinse and blot dry.
3. Heat the duck fat to 280 of (140 degrees C) in a deep saucepan and fry the potatoes in small batches until soft, about 5 minutes. They should be pale but cooked through. Allow them to rest and cool at least 30 minutes as this will help to get rid of a lot of steam, resulting in a crispier potato. Heat the duck fat to 360 of (180 degrees C) and refry the potatoes until golden and crisp.
4. Thinly slice the duck breast and place on a paper-lined plate.
5. Dot each potato lozenge with wasabi and place the duck slice on top. Brush with the Honey Soy Reduction and top with a pinch of Momiji Oroshi, ginger and scallion.
Makes scant 1 cup (210 ml)
1. In a saucepan, bring the soy sauce to a gentle simmer. While stirring, add the kudzu starch to thicken. Set aside.
2. Place the honey in another saucepan and heat until warm, then pour into the pan of soy sauce Place over low heat and simmer gently for 8 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Peel a daikon. Grate and lightly drain in a fine-mesh sieve. For every tablespoon of grated daikon, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of red chili paste.
Kudzu starch A thickening agent made from kudzu root, often used in Japan. Kudzu starch hold its shape well and doesn't alter the flavor or color of the food.
Nigiri-zushi An oval, hand-formed nugget of sushi rice topped with a fish slice and grated wasabi.
Peruvian yellow potato (papa amarilla) A flavorful potato grown in the Andes, less waxy than varieties grown in the lowlands.
Shari Derived from Sanskrit "zaali," meaning rice. Refers to cooked vinegared sushi rice.
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This page created September 2009
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