cod, Japanese omelet, lemon sauce


I invented this tonight by virtue of a struggle between conflicting forces in my mind.

The stack is amazingly delicious and easy to prepare. I offer it to the world. Go on then, have it. It is easy to eat. Your kids will love you for it. You can win accolades, awards and fame with this etherial plate, this heavenly light serving of refreshing nourishment. 

The lightness of the cod loin barely cooked and served cold is extraordinary, having soaked for two days in its flavorful cooking liquid, although all that time is not necessary. Here, it is just making use of leftover cod. The light flaky fish sits atop a Japanese style sweet omelet, itself set atop a lemon meringue cloud. The fish is draped with additional lemon sauce and garnished with sweet onion relish and a tuft of green lettuce. 

Truth is, the tuft of lettuce is only for the purpose of photography. The plate was served with 10x that much lettuce. It's how we food-stylist types roll. 

Lemon flavors fish nicely. This idea extends the lemon to a lemon sauce. 

The idea is to moderate the tartness of lemon with sugar or with mirin, or even honey. The liquid for the sauce is water thickened with cornstarch and fortified with butter. Additional fortification with egg yolk, and additional flavor with nutmeg but those two are not necessary for a delicious sauce. A tiny pinch of salt knocks off the saccharine edge and unifies the opposing taste sensations of tartness and sweetness. Both lemon zest and lemon juice are incorporated into the sauce. In a thicker form, the sauce will make a very nice lemon curd for a range of pastry fillings. 


The sauce was prepared first, discounting the cod which was prepared days ago here

I was amazed how fast the sauce thickened. It was finished like that *snap*. 1 full cup water was poured into a tiny sauce pot and set on moderate heat. An egg was separated, the yolk whisked directly into the water beginning to heat and the white of the egg into a glass mason jar and held separately to whisk later to stiff peaks. 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, a tiny pinch of salt, and one heaping round tablespoon of cornstarch was whisked into the water. BLAM! It thickened immediately because the water heated quickly. Too thick. The sauce is thinned with a squirt of tap water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick. Another increment of water. Still too thick, and so on for 5 increments until the desired thinness is attained. So, eventually nearly 2 full cups of water, way more sauce than I intended. All this before the lemon is added. 1 lemon is scraped for its zest for nearly 3/4 entirely scraped , then the juice of the scraped half lemon squeezed through an intervening wire strainer where a single seed is collected. The sauce is taste-tested. It is delicious but lacking something. What is it missing? Tastes again. Butter!


The butter is cold, whisked into the heated sauce last. Taste-tested again and deemed spot on.

Note, the egg yolk is not tempered. I have determined that with careful whisking, that whole back-and-forth tempering business is nonsense. 

Lemon sauce:

*  1 cup water
*  1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
*  1 tiny ity-bity pinch of salt
*  1 level tablespoon cornstarch
*  1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
*  1 egg yolk
*  zest of 1/2 lemon
*  juice of 1/2 lemon
*  1 tablespoon butter

But now I have an extra egg white. 

The lemon meringue cloud is the product of my chariness, my unwillingness to waste a perfectly good egg white or to store it. That, and the fact of excess lemon sauce that I would also just as soon not have around to store. If the heavily sauced-up lemon meringue cloud would fail, then no big loss then innit. I would still have the original lemon sauce in the original intended amount.

The single egg white is whipped inside the mason jar and stiffened with cream of tartar and sweetened with a scant teaspoon of confectioner's sugar. So now two layers have sugar, the sauce and the meringue cloud. 3/4 of the meringue mixture is plated and baked for 15 minutes at 400℉/ 205℃ convection. 


Baking the meringue takes the longest. You might as well do that first, but it needs to contain 50% lemon sauce, so that forces it to be second and not first. By 50%, I mean by weight or by original mass. Consider the amount of egg white that went into the jar before it was whipped then approximately match that amount by spooning flavorful lemon sauce. The sauce will sink to the bottom of the jar. Fold the sauce into the stiff meringue by tilting the jar and lifting the heavy sauce on top of the meringue until it nearly 100% combined without deflating the meringue too much, although some deflation is unavoidable. 

Japanese cooks us a square pan to form a rolled sweet omelet that is a national favorite in bento boxes, and also used for nigiri sushi, known as tamago


The pan, a fairly blatant uni-tasker, is available on Amazon for $20.00. Alas, for I am square pan-less, therefore, I must use a round pan.

A thin layer of whisked egg is poured into the heated pan. The egg is sweetened and otherwise flavored with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and such, the simple recipe varies. The egg rapidly congeals and is rolled using chopsticks or spatula to one end of the pan. The entire roll is pushed to one side of the pan and then refilled with another thin layer of liquid raw egg which also rapidly cooks. The original roll is rolled onto the new layer of cooked egg so that the roll doubles in mass. The new larger roll is pushed back to the starting point and more egg is poured into the pan, and so on, until the ever enlarging roll amounts to about a third or half of the pan. The roll is removed to a bamboo sushi rolling mat and pressed into a rectangular or ovate shape. The process can be viewed on Youtube, search [tamago] or search [dashi maki], both searches will produce videos of the square pan omelet, with similar but slightly varying techniques and ingredients. 

This folded egg is not a crêpe, and not an omelet, and not official tamago. It is none of these things, but rather, a simple sweetened egg that is flavored with hot capsicum chile flakes. 

Egg mixture:

*  2 jumbo eggs
*  1 teaspoon water
*  1/2 teaspoon refined cane sugar
*  1 tiny ity-bity pinch of salt
*  1 tiny ity-bity grind of pepper
*  1/8 teaspoon mixed chile flakes

So now three layers of this plate contain amounts of sugar.






I love it when a plan comes together.



There is the basic idea ↑, lemon meringue, sweet flat folded omelet, cold poached cod. That right there would work as far as flavor goes, but it needs eye appeal. We cook types are like that, we're always thinking in terms of, "What can I do to make this plate look like it is delicious so that the people who are served are immediately biased in its favor?" See? That there is what you call a psychological mind trick. I decide on sweet onion relish prepared earlier (the same time as the cod already referred to), entirely unnecessary except to enhance eye appeal.

So now four layers contain sugar, and that is why I am certain that kids will devour this with no fussing or coersion.

Additional lemon sauce in original form (without any meringue), and a tuft of shredded green lettuce, because that is what I have, which is actually a big pile of green lettuce but not photographed as such. Honestly, the tuft on top could be pretty much anything, chopped green onion, chives, mint, parsley, or basil, for example, or sliced cucumber or diced tomato, or even fruit or berries. 


No comments:

Blog Archive