I HEART BACON
Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Cooking Club: Asian-Fusion

consumed on 9/9/05

It was finally my rotation to host the Cooking Club and pick a theme. I kept vacillating between Asian and French—two of my favorite cuisines, until it hit me… why not do both? I know purists hate the term “fusion”, but how can blending the best qualities of two cuisines ever be a bad thing? For my theme I wanted to focus on French preparations with Asian flavors.

We started out the evening with R’s incredible and usual cucumber-ginger sake drinks. The most accurate word I can use to describe this bright and tasty drink is “refreshing”. Accompanying the drinks were light and savory crab tartlets with lemongrass, recipe courtesy of Ming Tsai.

For the main course I made my favorite fish recipe: Grilled Halibut with Cilantro-Lime Butter. The fish is marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil and then it’s sauced with a beurre blanc spiked with ginger and cilantro. Common sense tells me I should be proper and modest about my own cooking, but this fish was SOOO good. I would actually choose this fish over bacon. Seriously. It’s that good. Although, I can’t take all the credit—the halibut I bought from Mutual Fish was incredible and impeccably fresh. (I heart Mutual Fish in a big way.)

The sides dishes consisted of K’s Arugula Salad with Lemongrass Vinaigrette & Goat Cheese and M’s Crazy Coconut Noodle Toss. The noodles were a little crazy—and by crazy I mean rich. They were delicious but appeared to be soaked in coconut milk; I could only handle a few bites. The arugula salad was surprisingly flavorful considering the simplicity of the ingredients. I absolutely loved the sweet and lemony vinaigrette. It was a perfect paring with the peppery arugula and tangy goat cheese. I’m not even a goat cheese fan, but this recipe is definitely going into my collection.

For dessert, B brought a Ginger Cake with Cardamom Cream (another Ming Tsai recipe). First of all, I’d like to say that gingerbread should absolutely be a year-round food; why has it been relegated to just the holidays? This cake was fantastic—tender, rich and studded with chunks of candied ginger. The paired topping of cardamom whipped cream elevated it to heavenly status.

Check out the whole menu with recipes at Culinary Fool’s site:
http://spaces.msn.com/members/culinaryfool/Blog/ cns!1pYNGy2haD1h_titL1O7uNXQ!1206.entry

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8 Responses to “Cooking Club: Asian-Fusion”

  1. Wow, good stuff. I love beurre blancs, they’re such a great platform to build flavors upon. You just have to be careful with the heat, not enough and it doesn’t emulsify fully, too much and you split the whole butter.

  2. Keiko says:

    Megwoo, I can’t see any meat! :) Everything looks gorgeous.

  3. I’m not a purist, necessarily, but I think my only reservation with the word “fusion” is that I dislike what fusion has become… drama for the sake of drama rather than for the sake of flavor, towers of incongruous unrelated ingredients. Using lemongrass in place of another herb seems perfectly reasonable, if the crab likes it; cilantro lime butter is essentially a classic citrus seafood accompaniment with a different choice of herb, and you’ve actually made a fusion with compatible, rather than competitive, flavors. This is the kind of fusion that makes sense to me…

    When food is made with an appreciation for

  4. oops… when food is made with an appreciation for the functions of each ingredient, fusions have a fair chance of being memorable, exciting dishes… When fusions are done with the intention of shocking people or creating off-the-wall menu descriptions, they tend not to be as exciting.

  5. megwoo says:

    PC, Yeah it took me a while to get the hang of beurre blanc—it kept separating on me! But I think I have it down now; the heat is key!

  6. megwoo says:

    Keiko, Ha ha! I know! No meat and it was delicious!

  7. megwoo says:

    Jason, I agree—some fusion is just bad food.

  8. Tyler Schulz says:

    I tried your suggested halibut with cilantro-lime butter for a gourmet dinner party club. It was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. It was absolutely delicious. I will definitely make it again, but hate the idea of using trawled halibut. I don’t know of an alternative fish to use that’s sustainable, so I’ll have to look for long-line halibut. This dish absolutely wowed my guests and me.

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