Isn’t hamo (pike conger) an ingredient that brings Japanese cuisine strongly to mind?
Just because it’s French cuisine doesn’t mean that you can’t use Japanese ingredients. People in Kyoto like hamo, and this is the perfect kind of food to eat in early summer. We also use ayu (sweetfish) in the summer, and we have a tank set up so that customers can enjoy seeing the live ayu.
The hamo is simply deboned and fried, but watch and you’ll see that there’s a little trick to it.
First, I debone the hamo. This one has already been prepared in advance; I parboiled the hamo skin and removed the innards. Making the skin thinner gives it a better taste when eating it.
But the thin skin also makes deboning more difficult. If you handle it too roughly, it will fall apart.
The ingredients used for the coating in this dish are cake flour mixed with baking powder, ammonia powder (ammonium bicarbonate), and olive oil.
Ammonia powder is an ingredient used in Chinese cooking to further increase the leavening power of baking powder.
I’ll show you later how this coating really highlights a crispy texture when fried.
This is an original cooking technique, but it can be used for ingredients other than hamo as well, so it’s really an all-purpose method.
First, I add that ammonium powder, the baking powder, and a little salt to the cake flour, stir in some water, and then mix in plenty of olive oil.
I fry the previously-deboned hamo in this coating. I’m using refined soybean oil. The temperature is 180 degrees, and when it puffs and floats to the surface it is done.
The salad is dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar, and the sauce contains fromage blanc.
One more thing—I use this bean sauce made from only soybeans and salt, which I bought in Hong Kong. It goes extremely well with cooked fish. This is also an ingredient used in Chinese cuisine.
Can I ask you about the plating and this dish?
It is important for the presentation of the food, but I definitely don’t think that you have to use expensive dishes for plating.
For example, this dish is by no means expensive, but the added value and idea of it are appealing, and you can say the same about food.
It is not necessary to use expensive ingredients, and even if you use ingredients that are considered ordinary, you can present an amazing dish by using creative originality or giving it a little twist.