Saturday, September 19, 2015

Red Shiso: Part 2--pickles

Red Shiso
I posted about my first harvest hereAnd now that I have all the red shiso that I need [I cheated, the chef at the restaurant supplemented me with a beautiful bag of leaves], I'm on the road to make shibazuke, japanese pickles. Shibazuke is pickled eggplant, cucumber and ginger in salt and red shiso leaves. One of my favorite tsukemono. I love to eat it on hot rice, it's salty, tart and crunchy.

I've only had store-bought shibazuke so I was so exciting to get the shiso plant and start planning what I could do with it. I found this recipe from Sojourner Food. It looked doable. The only item I didn't have from the recipe was the ginger buds, myoga. 

[Ha! I just googled the myoga and found a link on how to grow them. If you feel ambitious to grow your own, here's the link. I may tried this indoors this winter. This is what happens when you don't have a pet anymore. You look for other things to take care of.]

Back to the recipe, I just added little more ginger in it's place of the myoga. Here's some of the pictures of my first attempt at shibazuke.

This is the bag of shiso leaves from the chef. She still want to give me more. This was after I took out 40 leaves for the pickles. I don't know what she's thinking I'm going to make with these leaves. 

it starts out green then turns red on one side
I added the salt to the washed shiso leaves and tossed it together. I let it sit while I prepped the eggplant, cucumber and ginger.
pre-toss with kosher salt
Chopped the veggies into bite size pieces and the ginger into thin strips. Then salt and let to sit for 1/2 hour.
all chopped, waiting for the salt
After a 1/2 hour, I made sure that there was liquid from the salted veggies. Then I squeezed the shiso to get the purple-ly juice out. 
I added the juice and the squeezed shiso to the veggies and toss together. Taste a cucumber to see if the salt needs to adjusted. The recipe says it should be salty enough to pucker but not unbearable. I added a couple more unsalted shiso because I didn't think the juice was purple enough. [I hope it helps]
all mixed up, now to wait
I packed it up in tall-ish plastic container, put dish with a can of condensed milk in another plastic container on top of that to weigh it down and cover. Now to wait a week to it is done. On Sunday, I'll give a mix. I'll post the finish product later. Can't wait, smell great already. 

I still have a 1/2 a bag full of shiso and some ginger to use up. What to do. 

I decide to try out shiso wrapped salmon. The chef at the restaurant told me about this. She said her husband, who is Vietnamese, wrapped fish with the shiso and grilled it. 

I marinated the salmon in koji [store-bought] and grated ginger to keep with the japanese theme. I let it sit for about 1/2 hour then wrap the salmon with the shiso. skewering the leaves to stay on. Then I tossed it on the grill, turning it once, till salmon was done. Here's what it looks like. 
right off the grill
Taste? Pretty good. The koji gave is it that sweet and salty taste. The ginger went well with the koji and shiso flavor. The shiso still had the shiso flavor with a little bit of smokiness from the grill.  Would definitely do it again. 

What I'd do differently? Marinate fish longer with more koji and ginger, probably overnight. Cut up the salmon in smaller pieces so it is easier to wrap in the leave and use toothpicks instead of skewers. And lastly, don't grill in the dark. hard to see when the salmon was ready. I'll write up this recipe when I get the proportions right. Coming soon.

More shiso to use. Maybe some pickled ginger with shiso. Maybe I can dehydrate the leaves and make some furikake. Hmmm. That's a thought.

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