Daniel Patterson's Earth and Sea dish in his Coi cookbook brings together the mushroom dashi we made yesterday with a tofu mousseline. This mousseline is a subtle number, a blend of medium and silken tofu, thickened with egg whites and flavored with a hint of ginger and shichimi togarashi. It provides a soft base for the broth, and it grounds the dish with profound earthiness. Floating in the thickened broth is a mix of small pieces of seaweed, pickled Tokyo turnips, and slender strips of yuba (tofu skin). The seaweed echos the salinity of the dashi, while the turnips and yuba anchors the broth to the mousseline. A smattering of lime zest is the final genius touch—brightening each bite with its citrusy fragrance.
Why I picked this recipe: The photograph of the dish in the book looks like magic. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could pull it off at home.
What worked: For a dish that appears so mysterious and challenging, it really wasn't terribly difficult. My attempt wasn't quite as pretty, but it still tasted great.
What didn't: My oven is terribly inconsistent, so I'll blame its heat spike for the fact that I broke the mousselines. They looked fine in the oven, but their texture once eaten was a bit grainy. I'd suggest preheating your oven well in advance to help insure a consistent temperature when baking.
Suggested tweaks: You can use dried seaweed if you can't find fresh (I couldn't). Rehydrate the seaweeds in cold water before using. Try to choose seaweed that is small and tender. If you can't find yuba, you can leave it out. If you've got thick, clear, ovenproof glass ramekin-like bowls, use those for the visual effect. I used those French glass "working" jars that come with bright red lids. Otherwise, regular ceramic ramekins will work just fine.
Reprinted with permission from Coi: Recipes and Stories by Daniel Patterson. Copyright 2013. Published by Phaidon Press. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- Mushroom Dashi
- Pickled Turnips
- 20 pieces small Tokyo turnips
- 30 g water
- 30 g rice wine vinegar
- 5 g sugar
- 1.5 g salt
- Seaweeds, like bull kelp, alaria, sea lettuce, eel grass, purple laver, Turkish towel, sea grapes and giant kelp
- Steamed Tofu Mousseline
- 300 g medium tofu
- 90 g silken tofu
- 50 g egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 10 g white soy
- To Serve
- Shichimi togarashi
- 24 pieces yuba, cut into ¾ - x 3-inch (1.5- x 8-cm) strips
- Zest of 1 lime
To pickle the turnips, cut them in quarters, sixths or eighths, depending on the size, and put them into a metal container. Bring the water, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Pour over the turnips and let cool to room temperature. Keep the turnips in the liquid for at least a half hour and until you need them.
Clean several kinds of fresh seaweeds, like bull kelp, alaria, sea lettuce, eel grass, purple laver, Turkish towel, sea grapes and giant kelp. Cook the ones that require cooking in unsalted water until tender. Cool and cut into small shapes. Cut the other kinds into similar size pieces. Combine the trimmed cooked and raw seaweeds and soak in cold water, changing the water occasionally and rinsing them each time, to remove the sliminess.
To serve, place the medium tofu, silken tofu, egg white and 1/8 teaspoon finely grated ginger in a blender. Puree and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Season with white soy and salt. Put a large spoonful of mousseline in 4 ovenproof ceramic bowls and dust lightly with shichimi togarashi. Place the bowls into a water bath in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 15 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and add 5 small pieces of drained pickled turnip.
Warm equal parts plain and thickened dashi (you will need about 400 ml) until warm but not hot (otherwise it will loose its texture). Add the yuba, 4 spoonfuls of seaweeds, and grated lime zest. (Mushroom and lime is a happy combination. The lime is also there to brighten all the deep, dark flavors, so use a decent amount.) Heat through. Spoon the mixture over the baked tofu mousseline.