Makes 10 small bowls
The quintessential Cuban mojo sauce combines a strong splash of citrus with salt, oil, garlic and onion. Restaurants in Peru often serve Yuca con Mojo, drenching yucca or cassava root in this mixture. Of course, for our Nobu-style mojo, we use fresh-squeezed yuzu! The garlic and onion are uncooked, which adds a nice water-crisp texture. Here we use the mojo to dress one of Nobu's and my personal favorites—octopus. The prep takes a bit of doing, but I highly recommend this recipe if you really want to enjoy octopus in all its natural jelly-like softness.
1. Pound the octopus tentacles with a daikon radish (or wooden mallet, or rolling pin) to tenderize. Salt lightly and rub in a ceramic mortar to get rid of the natural sliminess. Rinse well under cold running water and blot dry.
2. Place the kombu in a pot and add salted cold water to cover the tentacles (2 tbsp. salt to each 1 qt./1 L water). Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the tentacles and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Remove the tentacles and lay onto plastic wrap. Make sure all the tentacles face in the same direction and tuck in the ends. Roll tightly and close both ends by twisting the plastic wrap like a candy wrapper. Tightly wrap again with aluminum foil.
4. Place the roll in a steamer or in simmering water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tentacles. Cool slightly at room temperature and refrigerate for 4 hours so that the natural gelatin of the octopus sets.
5. Unwrap the roll and slice into 20 rounds.
6. Divide the salad greens into individual bowls. Place 2 octopus slices on top and spoon the Yuzu Mojo over. Sprinkle with the grated bottarga.
Makes 2-2/3 Cups (630 ml)
1. Heat the oil to medium-hot, but not smoking.
2. Meanwhile, place the garlic, cumin, salt and peppercorns in a food processor or mortar and grind to a semi-fine paste. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and add the onion. Pour the hot oil over, being careful not to burn yourself, and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
3. Whisk in the orange and yuzu juices, soy sauce and oregano. Add salt to taste. Keeps refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.
Bottarga The salted and dried egg sac of the striped mullet.
Daikon Plump, long, large white radish that is essential to Japanese cooking.
Dashi Japanese stock often made from dried bonito flakes and kombu.
Kombu Dried giant kelp, used for adding meaty-tasting glutamic acid to dishes such as dashi.
Madako octopus Eaten raw as sushi, or vinegared, simmered, braised and grilled, madako (Octopus vulgaris) is the most common octopus in Japan, with an average length of 24 in. (60 em). It can be found throughout the world's warm seas.
Sour orange (Seville orange) A rough-surfaced orange, Citrus aurantium, with a fairly thick and aromatic rind, too sour to be enjoyed out-of-hand, mostly used for making marmalade or orange oil. Its juice is used for sauces in Latin America, such as the Cuban mojo.
Yuzu An important citrus, believed to be a cross between sour mandarin orange and Ichang lemon. Yellow in winter and green in summer, yuzu is used to add a distinctive pungent, sour, citrusy taste to Asian dishes. Bottled juice may be available in Japanese grocery stores.
More about Japan and Japanese Recipes
This page created September 2009
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