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sinkerinthedirt

Light/Acidic Sides to Pair with Extremely Rich, Fatty Foods

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Hey Chefs, 

 

I'm doing a dinner this weekend for a group of hard core meat enthusiasts which includes a variety of different courses of A5 steak from Japan. Each person will get 4-5oz of A5 of the course of the meal (gluttonous, I know), so I'm looking for light and acidic side dishes that can help cut through/balance the fat. I'm already planning a salmorejo for one of the earlier courses and was thinking a light asian noodle salad of some sort, but really open to ideas - particularly things I can prepare in advance. 

 

 

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Welcome to eG, sitd. A great pitch for a two-strike count, but you knew that already.  

 

Are you planning to serve a wine with the steak, and if so, what one (or two :biggrin:)? That pairing may well influence your choice of side(s).

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yes - I've got an 89 Rioja mag I'm going to open up, which I figured I'd pair with later courses, specifically a Snow beef ribeye. For my earlier courses, particularly with the salmorejo I was thinking a bone dry white, like a white burg or bold sauv blanc. I have options in my cellar so I can pivot for the right dish. 

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Posted (edited)

For some reason, and it's totally counterintuitive to the kind of dinner you're planning, something with sauerkraut leaps to mind. Maybe a sauerkraut salad? I've seen nice ones with shredded carrot and radishes, julienned red bell peppers, maybe some broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, dressing depending heavily on the kraut brine. This presupposes you have access to good sauerkraut.

 

And have you seen the sinker that Hicks kid is throwing in relief for the Cards?

 

 


Edited by kayb (log)

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Capsicum (Bell peppers) or sweet chilies sauteed  in butter, drained off excess butter leave on heat and just before serving add lemon juice. You can add red onion (small amount) and cherry tomato halves but the tomato is easily turned to unattractive mush.

 

Another is vine cherry tomato (leave in strings of 5 or six) sprinkled with olive oil, salt  and baked in the oven.

 

Halved Roma tomato sprinkled with sea salt & balsamic vinegar under the grill (broiler).

 

For something a little different, cold smallish mushrooms (the darker ones like Swiss brown) that have been baked in butter in the oven (to the point where they are over cooked). Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice put in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. You could use large mushrooms but probably need to shred or julienne before putting in the fridge.

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12 hours ago, Bernie said:

Another is vine cherry tomato (leave in strings of 5 or six) sprinkled with olive oil, salt  and baked in the oven.

 

That's a nice flavor treatment, but why leaves the vines attached? At what stage would you detach them (before serving, or let the guests do it)?

 

Please understand I'm not being critical; all the suggestions sound good to me, but this particular instruction puzzles me.

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Wild rice with cooked dried cranberries and onions and a splash of vinaigrette.

Braised red cabbage +/- allspice

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 

That's a nice flavor treatment, but why leaves the vines attached? At what stage would you detach them (before serving, or let the guests do it)?

 

Please understand I'm not being critical; all the suggestions sound good to me, but this particular instruction puzzles me.

 

I don't know @Bernie's rationale, but I often leave tomatoes on the vine in cooking. The vines have a lot of flavour which can be imparted to sauces etc. I usually remove them before serving. I also pan roast on-vine cherry tomatoes for the same reason. More flavour.

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Instead of Asian noodle salad, maybe an Asian slaw?   Or grilled asparagus served chilled or room temp tossed with lemon and garlic.  

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Got a bit more details to the courses you’ve intended ? Or just the meat, grilled/broiled ? 

 

I think pretty any cuisine has your kind of accompaniments to riff off, but if you have a bit more info it would be helpful.

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I've always been told that tomato leaves and vines are toxic... time to do a serious fact checking.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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My go-to easy refreshing salad is raw fennel and radish, sliced paper thin, spritzed with lemon and olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and fresh pepper, tossed gently. Goes with anything but has some flavor of its own, and there are lots of folks who don't eat fennel, so it ends up being novel.

 

Equally bright is a salad of celery and tart apples with just a handful of walnuts. I like it dressed lightly with a little mustard, lemon and oil and salt. That might be very nice with red meat. Depending on what I'm eating it with I might add just a little honey to the dressing. That's a good trick especially if you already added too much mustard.

 

A simple clean Asian slaw is a good idea, with cilantro and lime and a drizzle of sesame oil or neutral oil. Toss in a handful of shelled cooked, edamame for great texture.

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I'd go Japanese/Korean by serving dishes such as Kimchi, quick pickled onion, quick pickled carrot, pickled mushroom salad (with salad greens as well as sliced onion).

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17 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

That's a nice flavor treatment, but why leaves the vines attached? At what stage would you detach them (before serving, or let the guests do it)?

 

Please understand I'm not being critical; all the suggestions sound good to me, but this particular instruction puzzles me.

They are a little easier to handle and they do look attractive and stay where you put them on the plate for serving. Its not really that hard for the guests to do it.

I have never eaten the vines themselves but they do add a pleasant "cooked" aroma.

Where I buy them over here they are packaged in plastic containers with perhaps 2 or 3 strings of 5 or six to a packet. Depending on how you are serving the different steaks, you can reduce the numbers. You already have a tomato dish, but its not usually as acidic so a salty acidic small tomatoes might fit the bill. I guess you are showcasing the steak so you don't really want big servings of any tasty accompaniments to take  the attention off the steak.

Wish I was one of your guest, I just adore good steak (and wine and food....)

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23 minutes ago, Bernie said:

hey are a little easier to handle and they do look attractive and stay where you put them on the plate for serving. Its not really that hard for the guests to do it.

I have never eaten the vines themselves but they do add a pleasant "cooked" aroma.

 

Agree.

A few weeks ago, I went to my local supermarket and selected some lovely on-vine tomatoes. The new person on the weigh station pulled them all off the stems and threw the stems away. No doubt she thought she was doing me a favour, but I almost wept.

Another advantage of keeping them on the vine is they last longer in storage (NEVER THE FRIDGE!).

 

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I have been away all day so now I have had time to relax and drink my glass of red, I started to fantasize about this dinner, so here is a few thoughts

One of my pet hates is eating really good steak quickly. I am a "rare" steak eater. Trouble is if you take your time eating (and of course drinking!) then the steak gets cold, particularly in good company with good conversation (and wine). So HEAT the plate. Only has to be in an oven for a few minutes. That also means whatever is served with it must be fairly easy to plate out and not suffer from being warm. With that in mind how about whole green beans cold?

Steam, boil or bake (whatever your preference) till they are just cooked. At the same time gently fry some chopped garlic (not crushed, you want the texture) in butter. The butter can go slightly brown but can't burn. Drain the beans add them to the butter/garlic, toss to get garlic butter & bits of garlic on the beans and take off the heat allow to cool (but drain off excess butter) and put in a covered container in the fridge. To serve add a squeeze of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and toss,

The advantage is that if you add a few beans to a hot plate you are going to serve the steak on you will get a gentle warming of the beans and a very subtle garlic aroma.

If you can find tiny potatoes (some specialist stores sell tiny potatoes of a few different varieties), boil or steam them till just cooked and take off the heat & add butter. Keep them warm till ready to serve.

Just remember if you are going to really enjoy your steak, calories have no place in the discussion! From what I can work out about French cooking it is add butter. Then add more butter. If you are worried about the taste or the texture add more butter.

 

Now I need to go and buy beans and vine tomatoes and tiny potatoes and good steak (I already have some good wine I need an excuse to open). Perhaps some prawns or scallops to make an entree (and I will need to open that nice champagne or perhaps that aged Riesling) Then I need to wait a bit to allow the red to breathe. I suspect I will need another glass of red to do justice to the dessert planning. Maybe some oysters to have with the champagne then the prawns scallops to have with the Riesling..... (damn you eGullet..no wonder I am getting fat....)

Music will be low slow love ballads or perhaps slow country. Jazz perhaps with the dessert and cheese & coffee..maybe a fine port.... (shame is starting o set in...)

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On 5/11/2019 at 3:23 PM, kayb said:

For some reason, and it's totally counterintuitive to the kind of dinner you're planning, something with sauerkraut leaps to mind. Maybe a sauerkraut salad? I've seen nice ones with shredded carrot and radishes, julienned red bell peppers, maybe some broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, dressing depending heavily on the kraut brine. This presupposes you have access to good sauerkraut.

 

And have you seen the sinker that Hicks kid is throwing in relief for the Cards?

 

 

 

 

Sauerkraut is an interesting idea, something fermented might work really well. And yes, Hick's sinker is something glorious. 

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22 hours ago, gulfporter said:

Instead of Asian noodle salad, maybe an Asian slaw?   Or grilled asparagus served chilled or room temp tossed with lemon and garlic.  

I like the grilled asparagus idea. If there a way to grill, then refrigerate without the asparagus getting soft/flimsy? I think this might work great if I can keep the crunch. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sinkerinthedirt said:

I like the grilled asparagus idea. If there a way to grill, then refrigerate without the asparagus getting soft/flimsy? I think this might work great if I can keep the crunch. 

Grill al dente and cool them completely spread out single layer on a flat plate or sheet.  Then cover and refrigerate.  If you bring in from grill and cover the hot asparagus it will steam and cook it too soft.  


Edited by gulfporter (log)
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20 hours ago, heidih said:

 

Garden Betty does a good overview here  https://www.gardenbetty.com/tomato-leaves-the-toxic-myth/

 

Not sure Garden Betty gets them off the hook yet. Maybe.  She cites few studies some of which are in mice (which  can't always stand-in as a safety surrogate...animals differ in drug effect  eg tylenol kills cats in low dose but is fine in people generally).

 

Poisons are generally a dose-dependent thing too.

 

I've been told that the wisdom built into cows makes them avoid tomato leaves FWIW.

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2 hours ago, sinkerinthedirt said:

I like the grilled asparagus idea. If there a way to grill, then refrigerate without the asparagus getting soft/flimsy? I think this might work great if I can keep the crunch. 

 

Or cook sous vide for 20 min at 185 F or so...so they are exactly as done as you want  them regardless of caliber....and then torch lightly to char the tips. I have done this with good outcome.

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

Not sure Garden Betty gets them off the hook yet. Maybe.  She cites few studies some of which are in mice (which  can't always stand-in as a safety surrogate...animals differ in drug effect  eg tylenol kills cats in low dose but is fine in people generally).

 

Poisons are generally a dose-dependent thing too.

 

I've been told that the wisdom built into cows makes them avoid tomato leaves FWIW.

 

I understand the mouse studies are not science based evidence as to humans and that dose is a major factor. I am not going the tomato leaf pesto route. The simmering a few leaves in tomato sauce I have done.  Oh and anecdotally the horses won't eat the wild mustard so abundant here in California but humans do ;)

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I was kinda thinking wrapped shiso leaf with pickled diacon/ carrot mixture inside.

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I like cucumbers vacuum-infused with lime juice. If you want to turn it into a full "dish" you can just marinade cucumbers and thinly sliced red onion in lime juice with some sugar and a dash of fish sauce. Throw in some mixed herbs like cilantro or mint or thai basil or whatever at the end. You can do that with or without a chamber vacuum, but it sure looks prettier if you compress it.  

 

Cucumber and short ribs. There was a lime-zest and herb infused macadameia nut oil on the plate too. Citrus oils aren't acidic, but their aromatic qualities can help balance a dish. Also the Modernist Cuisine oxtail demi that has asian infusions. There's a lot of tamarind paste in the glaze to brighten up what is a quite thick and protein-rich glaze. That sauce is freaking magic, but it's a lot of work. If you make it in double quantity, you can freeze what you don't use. 

 

short_ribs_demi_cucumbers.thumb.jpg.45402fb867f8a2fa24746e3141d993b7.jpg

 

And here's a vacuum infused cucumber, red onion, and cilantro salad with that dressing I was talking about. Sometimes I use honey instead of sugar. And I usually use a less refined sugar if I don't have Thai rock on hand. That stuff can be hard to dissolve if you don't bang it out in a mortar first, and who has the time for all that?!

 

Pho_ga_cucumbersalad.thumb.jpg.9ec29ebee95d5857f2ac837058791dac.jpg

 

Good god compressed cucumber is beautiful.

 

Anyway, with wagyu you need to punch people in the face:

 

Wasabi. Horseradish. Mustard. Acid. Fermented vegetables.

 

In a 4-5oz portion, there is a lot of fat, especially if it's one of the higher grades. Give people big piles of different salts on their plate, and grind some fresh cracked pepper on the side for them. Allow them to season as they go (but season the meat when you cook it, obviously...). Let people be their own Salt Bae. And Pepper Bae. Some boutique soy sauces would be good too. I have a few on hand that would be bangers, including a smoked soy sauce I got from Toiro kitchen. I might also try curing the wagyu between kombu and/or using seaweed salt in your prep work. I have some Japanese ayu fish sauce that's amazing and very hammy -- one of Dave Arnold's favorites. It would probably be even better than Red Boat. Speaking of, Blis makes a barrel aged Red Boat fish sauce that would be great for dipping. Make some nuoc cham, in whatever form or fashion you want.

 

The point is, there are options. 

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