with Cedar Paper
Chef Josh DeChellis of New York City
Adapted by StarChefs.com
The cedar tree is a member of the pine
family and like its relatives – firs, hemlocks and
spruce – cedar wood retains a delicate evergreen scent.
While cedar planks are popular in American cooking, in Japan
the planks are shaved into ultra-thin sheets, dried in the
sun, and then cut into card-size portions. The transparent
and pliable cedar paper is then soaked and wrapped around
a hot fish or meat to gently impart its flavor, or burnt
in a traditional smoking technique beneath a meat or fish.
Burning cedar paper releases a multifaceted woodsy aroma
reminiscent of incense and spice. Chef Josh DeChellis, who
is known for finding inspiration in Japanese culinary philosophy
and ingredients, literally burns the cedar paper-coated
tuna cheeks directly on a hot pan. After this initial smoking,
DeChellis transfers the cheeks to a Winston CVap® cook
& hold Oven to control the cooking while adding nuances
of flavor using a steaming bain-marie of more cedar paper
in cedar-aged sake. The result is a complex layering of
cedar flavor which DeChellis pairs with a cooling kohlrabi,
watermelon and radish salad.
Step 1: Grind a sheet of cedar paper with
Step 2: Coat meat in the powder
Step 3: Heat a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed
Step 4: Sear the meat in the pan, burning
the layer of cedar powder
Step 5: Finish cooking in the oven above
a bain-marie of liquid and cedar paper
- Uniformity in cooking
- Increased moisture retention
- Concentrated aromatic flavor retention
Nori and Cedar Burnt Bluefin Tuna Cheeks
Chef Josh DeChellis of Sumile
New York, NY
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 4 Servings
- 5 sheets nori
- 1 sheet cedar paper
- 1 Tablespoon sansho
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon shichimi togarashi
- 2 bluefin tuna cheeks
- 8 additional sheets cedar paper
- 2 cups cedar-aged sake
Kohlrabi, Watermelon and Radish Salad:
- 1 large kohlrabi, cut in 1-inch by 1-inch by ¼-inch
- 2 cups ichiban dashi
- Tamari shoyu to taste
- Watermelon mirin, to taste
- 4 radishes, cut in 1-inch by 1-inch by ¼-inch
- 1/8 cup firm watermelon, cut in 1-inch by 1-inch by ¼-inch
- 4 stems mitsuba, torn
- ½ sage leaf, torn
- Lime zest, to taste
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices steamed tofu
- Winston CVap® cook & hold Oven
For the Tuna Cheeks:
Grind the nori, cedar and spices to a powder.
Coat the cheeks with the powder and burn them in a cast-iron
pan. Remove to finish cooking in the CVap oven.
Pour the sake into the bainmarie unit of
the CVap oven. Tear up the 8 cedar sheets and sprinkle over
the sake. Set doneness temperature on the CVap oven to 180
degrees with browning level set to 0 and place tuna cheeks
in oven and cook until softened.
If using a conventional oven, preheat to
300°F. Pour sake into a sheet pan, cover with torn pieces
of cedar, and set the sheet pan under a rack. Cover the
tuna cheeks with foil and place on the rack above the sheet
pan of sake. Cook until tender.
For the Kohlrabi, Watermelon and
Place ¼ cup of the kohlrabi in a pot with the dashi.
Season liquid with shoyu and mirin to taste – it should
have a balance of salty and sweet flavors. Cook on very
low heat until the kohlrabi is soft. Chill the liquid and
kohlrabi together. Toss kohlrabi with radish and watermelon,
torn herbs, lime zest and oil.
Remove the tuna cheeks from the CVap oven and serve with
the salad and a slice of steamed tofu.
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