Maura McEvoy
Halibut & Radishes in Beet Dashi
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Halibut & Radishes in Beet Dashi

The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, Michael Anthony - December 4th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook by Michael Anthony with a history by Danny Meyer―a book featured in Words-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“This is a deceptively simple dish: one beautiful piece of olive oil–poached fish, slices of every kind of radish you can find, and an interesting twist on a Japanese broth. Dashi is the foundation of all Japanese soups and sauces. I wanted to take the respect I have for the technique of dashi and make it American by adding our seasonal touch: beets. In that way, a beet dashi truly belongs to us, instead of being fleetingly fusion. Just like our composed salads, this dish has its elemental ingredients and then the little flourishes we add for variety, like Swiss chard stems and Mexican gherkins.”

Regarding dashi: “In a Japanese kitchen, every single day a pot of water is set on the stove and brought to a simmer. Then just two essential ingredients are added to make dashi: kombu, which is dried and aged seaweed, and katsuobushi, dried bonito flakes—the basic flavor combination fundamental to all Japanese cooking.

Although there are so few ingredients, every kitchen has its own way of making dashi. A discreetly flavored broth, dashi is the basis for so many dishes, but it is not a soup in itself, so don’t be surprised if you’re underwhelmed at first taste. At Gramercy Tavern, our American cooking is inspired by the Japanese reverence for essential ingredients like kombu and katsuobushi. We appreciate how the source of every ingredient defines the way it tastes.”

Serves 4

Dashi:

  • 1 4” piece dried kombu
  • 1 cup loosely packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • shiro dashi
  1. In small saucepan, bring kombu and 4 cups water to a simmer; cook 20 minutes; remove from heat; discard kombu; add katsuobushi flakes; stir; steep 15 minutes; strain broth through chinois into bowl; add several drops shiro dashi to intensify flavor, if preferred; reserve.

Assembly:

  • 4 cups plus 2 Tbsps. olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 3 scallions (white and pale green parts), roughly chopped
  • 1 1” piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 pods star anise
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 medium red beet, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 6 oz. halibut fillets
  • 1/4 lb. slab bacon, diced
  • 12 radishes, quartered and blanched, plus 2 radishes, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 1 cup small Swiss chard leaves
  • sea salt
  1. In medium saucepan, warm 2 Tbsps. oil over medium heat; add scallions, ginger, 1 pod star anise, fennel seeds, and peppercorns; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes; add beet and cabbage; cook, stirring often, until softened (about 4 minutes); add sugar, salt, and 3 cups dashi; bring to a simmer; continue to simmer gently, covered, 1 hour; remove from heat; add bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 2 sprigs thyme, and remaining pod star anise; cover; steep 15 minutes; strain through chinois into small saucepan; stir in vinegar; season with sugar, salt, and pepper; reserve over low heat.

  2. Add 4 cups olive oil, enough to cover fish by 1”, to a deep skillet just large enough to hold the fish; add reserved garlic clove and thyme; heat over medium flame until oil reaches 140°F; season fish with salt and pepper; gently place in oil; poach until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes, maintaining temperature of oil.

  3. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; strain off fat; add radishes and chard to pan with bacon; cook over medium heat until just wilting; season. To serve, transfer fish to paper towel–lined plate; pat dry; season; place each fillet in shallow bowl; spoon radish mixture next to fillets; pour in beet dashi; garnish with sliced radishes.

Chef’s Notes: Use radishes of varied shapes and colors. • Use dashi the day you make it.

Reprinted from The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook. Copyright © 2013 by Gramercy Tavern Corp. Photographs © 2013 by Maura McEvoy. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, LLC.