Chef Gerald Chin
PiPS Cucina & Wine Bar | Las Vegas
When we met Gerald Chin, he was executive chef of The Mansion—the private dining room of the über-exclusive MGM Grand villas. For the last three years, he had been quietly serving outstanding cuisine that’s spectacularly presented on beautiful and unusual dishes (one dish actually glows in the center with alternating shades of blue, green, purple, and red). He’s since moved on to open PiPS, and is bringing his elegant, flavorful, market-driven cuisine with him. Chin is not afraid to use bold flavors but he does so with graceful restraint. And he keeps the components of his dishes to a minimum, never putting more than six on a plate. The Mediterranean-inspired Tonno with marinated eggplant and basil essence is not only stunning for its bright color and flawless translucency, but also for its impeccable freshness, layering of textures, and lively but balanced flavor combination.
TONNO: Tuna Crudo on Eggplant Caviar Tart with Basil Essence
Chef Gerald Chin of PiPS Vino & Cucina– Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 4 Servings
For the Basil Essence:
Put a Vita-Prep container into the freezer to chill. Pour about half of the oil into a pot (to about ¼-inch deep) over medium heat. Meanwhile, put a bowl in an ice bath. Add basil to hot oil and sauté just until the leaves turn bright green, about 5 to 10 seconds. Quickly pour basil and oil into bowl in ice bath and stir until chilled. Transfer to chilled Vita-Prep container and puree on high speed until smooth while drizzling in remaining oil. Strain basil oil through a coffee filter-lined sieve—this will take several hours; it is best done in the refrigerator. Reserve extra in a rubber-sealed jar or seal it in a vacuum bag.
For the Tuna Crudo:
Tuna should be trimmed into an evenly square-shaped loin, about 1½-inch in diameter. Cut tuna into 12 even slices, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Wrap in plastic and marinate in refrigerator until needed.
For the Eggplant Caviar:
Preheat grill. Prick eggplant all over with a fork. Grill until completely soft throughout and charred on the exterior. Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest until cool. Remove flesh, discarding skins, and put in a food processor. Add yogurt, olive oil, and salt and pepper; puree until smooth. Pass through a tamis and set aside.
For the Balsamic Eggplant:
Peel eggplant and cut into at least 8 ½-inch slices. Saute in olive oil until brown on both sides. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary; deglaze with balsamic vinegar and add butter. Remove from pan and let cool to room temperature. Set aside.
For the Tart:
Brush tortilla with butter and put on a plancha or griddle with a weight on top to keep it flat while
browning. Flip over and brown on the other side. Remove and let cool; then cut into a rectangle. Set aside.
To Assemble and Serve:
Spread a tablespoon of eggplant caviar on top of tortilla tart. Season tuna slices with fleur de sel, drips of lemon oil, and black pepper mignonette. Alternate slices of marinated eggplant and tuna over the tart, and garnish with micro basil. Put a dab of eggplant caviar in middle of plate and place the tart on top (to keep it from sliding); dot plate with basil essence. Serve immediately.
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