Chef Rubén García
minibar by josé andrés
405 8th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-0812 

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Cotton Candy Eel
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  • Ruben Garcia

    Cotton Candy Eel
    Chef Rubén García of ThinkFoodGroup and minibar by josé andrés – Washington, DC
    Adapted by
    Yield: 12 Servings


    2 9-ounce packages prepared frozen unagi
    Olive oil

    Eel Sauce:
    ½ cup soy sauce
    ½ cup mirin
    ¼ cup sugar
    20 grams dried bonito

    Pickling Liquid:
    100 grams water
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    200 grams rice wine vinegar

    Pickled Cucumber:
    12 rectangular slices English cucumber, 2½ inch x ¾-inch and ⅛-inch thick

    To Assemble and Serve:
    100 grams black sesame seeds
    12 large green shiso leaves
    Pickled ginger
    Fresh wasabi
    2 tablespoons sugar
    Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate)
    Powdered sansho pepper

    For the Eel:
    Thaw the eel and remove the skin but leave the natural gelatin layer. Cut down the middle of eel. Remove the pin bones. Cut into 12-gram portions or 2½-inch x ½-inch portions. When ready to serve, put the eel on a sizzle platter, season with salt, drizzle with olive oil.

    For the Eel Sauce:
    Combine the soy sauce, mirin and sugar, and reduce over a low heat. When the sauce becomes syrupy, add the bonito flakes and let cool to room temperature. Pass the sauce through a strainer and keep refrigerated. The sauce will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

    For the Pickling Liquid:
    Combine the water and sugar with the salt and dissolve over medium heat. Cool and combine with the vinegar (do not add hot liquid to vinegar; you want to maintain its freshness and flavor). Keep refrigerated.

    For the Pickled Cucumber:
    Place 6 slices into 2 vacuum-seal bags with a tablespoon of pickling liquid in each bag. Vacuum at 99.9%. Keep the cucumber in the bags for 3 hours, then remove them and pat them dry. Be sure to make this fresh daily.

    To Assemble and Serve:
    Toast and dehydrate the black sesame seeds over a low-medium heat. Cool them and store in a container with desiccant. Remove the stems and tips of the shiso leaves and store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Portion the pickled ginger in 1-inch x ¼-inch portions. Follow the machine instructions to prepare the cotton candy with the sugar.

    Brush the shiso leaf with eel sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Lay cucumber down in the center of the plate. At 12 o’clock, plate a piece of ginger, and at 6 o’clock plate a dollop of wasabi. Smear eel sauce onto of each piece of cooked eel and broil until caramelized. Plate the eel on top of the cucumber and roll tight. Wrap in cotton candy.

    Garnish with a sprinkle of ajinomoto and sansho.