Wagyu, Cucumber, Honeydew, Lime Sugar Rocks

This summer sure did blow by pretty quickly.

I’m heading back to work this week, with meetings and presentations about benefit plans and all that jazz. For now, I have one last summertime dish to tell you about, and the hopes that I’ll be posting about a new one next week and all the upcoming weeks of the year as well. Truthfully, my weeknight dinners are much more interesting during the year, due to my more structured schedule (organized shopping trips) and need for a productive outlet (and dinner after a hard day). So I’m pretty optimistic that you’ll be hearing much more from me throughout the year.

About this dish.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Wagyu refers to specific breeds of cattle, known for its intense marbling, enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness.

Isn’t that just the most beautiful piece of meat you’ve ever seen?

This, on the other hand, is a picture of a USDA Choice grade rib roast.

There are ten things missing in this picture, see if you can spot them!

I can already hear your saliva glands working overtime, your brain chanting “I want to go to there!”, and your rational side wondering how you can get your hands on some Wagyu-tender-goodness.

If you’re one of those very unfortunate people who lives in New York, well, then I’m sure you can get a hold of some Kosher Wagyu either at the very fancy Pomegranate market, or at Park East, or even through Le Marais. We country folk, however, didn’t really have any options.

Until now.

My good friend, Aaron Jacob, informed me last week that he had purchased a Wagyu London broil from the good people at Wasserman and Lemberger in Baltimore. I was skeptical. Surely this must just be one of those times where the Kosher meat business takes a cut of meat and mislabels it, like when a center-cut rib steak is sold as filet mignon. I hate it when they do that.

So I took a trip up to Baltimore, and headed over to Wasserman to see for myself what was what. Turns out, Aaron does know what he is talking about every once in a while. Right now, they’ve got some rib steaks clocking in at about $30/lb, or some fantastic London Broil at a mere $14/lb. I didn’t buy anything on that trip, as I was headed northbound on the Turnpike, and not back home, but I do plan on calling in an order Sunday morning, and so should you.

So instead of the Wagyu beef cap this dish called for, I instead used a regular ol’ beef cap, with diminished results. But first, onto the lime-sugar rocks fiasco.

I started by putting this mix in my workbowl.

That’s 250g sugar, 20g egg whites, 15g lime juice, 5g citric acid and 2.5g of Kosher salt. I whipped it all together until the mixture turned a pale white.

Now, the recipe requires this lime mixture to be dehydrated at 120 degrees for twelve hours. I do not have a dehydrator. Yet. So instead, I sandwiched the goop between two sheets of Teflon coated paper, which you saw here, and put it in my oven at 170, the lowest it goes, and left it open a crack. Twelve hours later, it looked like this.

It’s supposed to look like this.

Notice the chunks of white on top of the cucumber strip. Those are the lime rocks. I’m pretty sure I know what went wrong. I had set the oven at 350 while baking some muffins for shabbos, and because I was in a hurry, I didn’t let it cool off entirely before putting in the lime mixture. The white part left around the edges tasted great, sour and sweet, crumbly but not sticky. But all that stuff in the middle caramelized, and rose a little bit, due to the egg whites, I think.

So, that component got canned, since I didn’t have a spare twelve hours to try again.

Next I made the soy pudding. You’ve seen this process before, in this dish, and it’s fairly easy. I measured 250g of soy sauce and 8g of agar agar into a medium saucepan.

I brought it to a boil, whisking constantly, and then let it simmer for one minute longer. I then removed it from the fire, and stirred in another 250g of soy sauce, because this is supposed to be thinner than that banana pudding from the last time. I strained this through a chinois, and let it set overnight in my fridge. Once it set, I blorped it (that’s the sound it made) into my blender and whacked it on high, finally transferring it to a squeeze bottle for the final plating.

While the meat, which, by the way had a horrible amount of silver skin left on it, was sous vide-ing, I went to town on this honeydew

Peeling, halving, seeding, and cutting it into slices 1/16 inches thick, 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Now I know for a fact that I bought two English cucumbers to be sliced thin for this dish. I could not, however, find them anywhere when I began plating it an hour before shabbos. So instead of making myself crazy and even more stressed with the mad Erev Shabbos rush, I left that piece out for good as well, and hoped the dish would still be tasty enough.

Here’s what it looked like

It sure was pretty, but as much as I really wanted to like it, I wasn’t all that thrilled. Maybe it had something to do with the two components that were left out? Or maybe because although the meat was very tasty, it was a little tough, from all the silverskin I was unsuccessful at removing. Or maybe, it was because the honeydew was actually pretty bland, surprisingly so, because I bought it at H Mart, which generally has very good produce.

So, the truth is, I can’t fault the dish itself for not being great, because the dish I made is definitely not the one that is served in the restaurant. I did appreciate the contrast between the subtle sweetness of the melon and what should have been a rich piece of meat. The soy pudding really was an interesting touch, as were the pink peppercorns, which, if you haven’t ever tried them, are much more fruity, and not nearly as sharp as the black variety. Until (if) I get a dehydrator, I don’t think that I’ll be attempting to make the rocks again as part of this dish.

I think this could be a great, cold, Shabbos day appetizer, with the melon, maybe some thinly sliced London broil, a soy-honey-lime marinated cucumber strip and some ground pink pepper. Maybe you could even make some candied and fried lime zest for a little added crunch, like I did in this dish.

Just make sure you don’t lose your cucumbers.

Oh, and if anyone would like to send me one of these, I promise that I’ll put it to good use!

Enjoy the last few moments of Summer!

–Yehuda

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About ydmalka

Just sharing my experiences as I learn more about kosher cuisine, from non-kosher cookbooks.
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2 Responses to Wagyu, Cucumber, Honeydew, Lime Sugar Rocks

  1. Aaron says:

    Nice shout out. I appreciate it

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