Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges
Black Bread, Butter, Jalapeño, Yuzu, Maldon Salt

I was sitting in the dining room of my virtual restaurant, the Borage & Basil Bistro, reading about Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Santa Barbara Sea Urchin.

“This dish is the perfect example of how uncluttered Jean-Georges’ cuisine is, as well as the volumes he can make his dishes speak. The bright iodine from the uni marries perfectly with the buttered pumpernickel toast. It’s just delicious from both a textural and flavorful standpoint,” said Chef Wylie Dufresne.

Contemplating getting on a plane to NYC to try this utterly sublime dish, it occurred to me how silly it would be to travel across the country from LA – to eat Santa Barbara uni! 

Not only is the uni local, we also have the rare yuzu tree (an important component of this dish) growing in our garden. So that is how Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges ended up as the appetizer on tonight’s dinner menu at the Borage & Basil Bistro, this summer’s virtual restaurant where all the menu items feature fresh snipped herbs, exotic ripe fruits, and edible flowers from our garden.

With its salty, clean ocean scent and hues of gold and deep orange, its sweet, exotic, haunting taste and creamy, buttery texture – the captivating sea urchin roe makes for an elegant appetizer, indeed.

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges Recipe

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5 Fabulous Bloggers: Just One Cookbook

Nami, Just One Cookbook, Japanese Beef Tongue, Gyutan, BBQ Beef Tongue
Gyutan | BBQ Beef Tongue

Hi everyone! My name is Nami, and I share quick and easy Japanese home cooking at my blog, Just One Cookbook.

I’m really excited to be here today to celebrate Lori Lynn (LL)’s 5 year anniversary for her blog! Congratulations LL! For the past year I’ve followed her blog and I’ve been continuously inspired by her beautiful and unique creations. Each week I am really excited every time I receive recipe updates from her. Working together in the food blogger community, she is someone special to me because I truly admire her culinary talents and magical photography skills. I feel very honored to be invited by her today for this special series of guest posts she’s having. Thank you LL!

The only request from her for this guest post was that I cook something exotic. For someone who is not familiar with Japanese food, it’s possible to think many dishes in Japanese cuisine can be exotic, such as sashimi (raw fish). Being a Japanese myself, I had to give it some thoughts and I finally came up with one, which might be too exotic for some readers.

I prepared gyutan, which is grilled sliced beef tongue. Until I did a bit of research for this post, I didn’t know that beef tongue is used not only by Japanese cuisine, but enjoyed in many other cuisines such as American, Mexican, Romanian, German, Persian, English, Russian, Italian, Filipino, Korean and many more (source). I was very surprised when I found this out since I don’t typically see beef tongue on restaurant menus (except in Mexican Taquerias).

The Japanese word gyutan is a combination of the Japanese word for cow (gyu) and the English word tongue (tan). The region in Japan that first started to cook gyutan was Sendai and it was initially considered a rather unusual dish, but gradually gained popularity throughout Japan around 1950s.

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Italian Twist on Yuzu

pignoli yuzu gremolata
pignoli yuzu gremolata

Yuzu is a captivating versatile citrus that has been valued in Asian cuisines for centuries. This twist on an Italian condiment employs the yuzu in a fusion-style preparation. The young green yuzu fruit of September has turned a mellow golden yellow. Both the young green and the mature yellow fruits are used in cooking, so we’ve enjoyed fabulous yuzu all through autumn and winter. The rind is very aromatic, the juice is tart. Yuzu adds a striking bright note to vegetables. Its flavors are more complex than lemon – maybe like a combination of grapefruit plus mandarin orange with a hint of sour lime? Pair the zest with pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt  – and this gremolata will brighten up any winter roasted vegetable dish!

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