Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Two Meats & Veg

Over the weekend, I decided to delve into one of my new acquisitions, Jane Lawson's Yoshoku. From it, I chose two easy enough recipes to ensure I could spend my now precious weekends doing other things besides slaving in the kitchen (much as I love it, I also love plenty other things).

Her Beef Tataki Salad as well as the Crisp Duck Breast with Orange and Daikon Salad seemed wonderfully fuss-free. I made up the tasty dressing for the beef salad as well as the ponzu sauce for the duck on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I headed to the new gourmet butchery that recently opened up in the mall near where I live and picked up a nice cut of Wagyu beef (because the barely cooked beef is sliced paper-thin, I decided to splurge and buy a small cut of the best). Then off to the market I went and bought a packet of rocket and a couple of other bits and bobs for our weekend meal. Deep in the recesses of my freezer was a frozen magret of duck (or, in less pretentious terms, a big-ass duck breast packed by the French). To be perfectly honest, I bought it months ago, but the expiry date had at least another year left on it (who knew you could keep meat that long?). Thus, I figured that this was as good a time as any to put it to use.

I am pleased to report that, if the two dishes I chose are anything to go by, Ms Lawson's recipes are a doddle to follow. Sunday evening saw me quickly searing that beautiful slab of beef just to brown the outsides and then pan-frying the duck breast before tossing the rocket (or arugula) in their respective dressings. Then it was a matter of slicing a daikon and some oranges, arranging the dishes on the plate and serving.

Both dishes turned out superb. The melt-in-your-mouth beef and peppery rocket was laced with a tasty dressing, sharp with the zing of grated fresh ginger. Similarly, the rich, pink flesh of the duck was counterpointed with the fresh orangey dressing and ponzu sauce. We had quite a bit left over, so we had it again on Monday night. Fab!

To go with the two dishes, I bought and served a pack of salmon sashimi from the new Japanese fish market that opened up alongside the butchery (it's great, the revamped mall!), together with some cold soba served with its traditional condiments of nori flakes, spring onions, wasabi and senka sauce.


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