Two weeks ago, I tried making hamachi shots—Chef Jeffrey Stout’s signature recipe at The Sea by Alexander—for the first time. I was rushed and forgot to add all of the ingredients. I also took a short cut that did not work well. This time, I am trying to faithfully follow the recipe—not something that is really in my nature.
I was making a Japanese weekday dinner—miso soup, tofu salad, pickled cucumbers, and steamed rice. This seemed like a good time to try again. The first thing was to do was to lay out all of the ingredients, so that you do not forget one in the final rush to assemble the shots. The second was to use Chef Stout’s recipe for ponzu sauce. Japanese ponzu sauce is soy sauce mixed with citrus juice—frequently yuzu—and other seasonings, which I have posted before.
While Chef Stout’s sauce is not a traditional Japanese ponzu, it is necessary to replicate the flavor profile of his hamachi shots. The last time I made this dish, I used commercial ponzu sauce. This had a significantly different flavor from Chef Stout’s sauce. While the measures he gave for making his sauce is for a restaurant volume, it is easy to scale it down for home cooking. I said in my last post that hamachi was usually sold only as “yellowtail” or “amberjack,” but I went to another store this time, I found it labeled as hamachi.
Note: One other problem I had was in my shot glasses. I only had some liqueur glasses and sake cups. I wandered around the local Goodwill shops. I was lucky to find 12 matching shot glasses.
After Dinner Note: These hamachi shots came out much closer to our taste experience at The Sea.
Note: For 10 hamachi shots
½ tsp. vegetable oil
¾ inch piece ginger, finely julienned
1 green onion, finely julienned into ¾ pieces
1 avocado, cut into ten ¼ x ½ x ¾ inch pieces
1 red jalapeño, cut into ten ¼ x ¾ inch pieces
½ tsp. black truffle oil, separate uses
½ tsp. black sesame seeds, separate uses
30-40 daikon sprouts (a.k.a. micro greens)
1 tsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lime juice
Tiny dab of wasabi paste
4 oz. yellowtail sashimi
10 shot glasses
1. Put the oil in a small skillet, over medium high heat, and fry the ginger shreds until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
Tip: You want about 2-4 shreds for each shot.
2. Remove the ginger to a paper towel to drain off excess oil.
3. Fry the green onions in the remaining ginger oil until just wilted, about 30 seconds.
Tip: Again, you want about 2-4 shreds for each shot.
4. Remove the onion pieces to the paper towel to drain off excess oil.
5. Cut the avocado and pepper into the appropriate sizes and lay them out around your work surface.
Note: You want each ingredient laid out, easy to hand, around a central area where you will assemble the shots.
6. Lay out the sesame seeds in a small cup and the bottle of truffle oil.
Tip: You will need a small measuring spoon to put about an eighth of a teaspoon of truffle oil into each shot glass.
7. Trim the daikon sprouts down to ¾ inch.
Note: Daikon sprouts grow to about three inch long, you will want to cut off most of the long white stem.
8. Mix the ponzu into a small cup and stir in the wasabi paste.
Note: The daikon sprouts do not have the same bite as wasabi greens. Adding the wasabi to the ponzu is to add this flavor back into the total flavor of the dish. Do not use too much, just a hint
9. Dice the yellowtail sashimi into ¼ inch pieces.
Note: Last time I made these I used slices of the sashimi—as what I remembered from the original dish. My family vehemently remembered the raw fish being diced—with more surface area for the ponzu to coat.
10. Place a shot glass on its side, and lay a 2 teaspoons of yellowtail down into the bottom and up one side of the glass.
Tip: You may roll up a clean dishtowel and set the glasses so that they are tilted at about a 45º angle. You do not everything stacked up in the bottom of the glass. For the food to be artistically displayed is part of the Japanese aesthetic.
11. Lay a piece of avocado over the fish.
12. Lay a piece of the red pepper over the avocado.
Tip: Gently press down on the slice of pepper, so that the pepper, avocado, and fish stay in place when you turn the glasses upright.
Note: Repeat this process with the other nine shot glasses.
13. Set the shot glasses upright.
14, Put 2-4 shreds each of ginger and green onion into each glass.
15. Garnish each glass with 3-4 of the daikon micro greens.
16. Drizzle an ⅛ of a teaspoon of truffle oil into each glass.
17. Drizzle ⅓-½ tsp. of the ponzu over the contents of each shot glasses.
18. Sprinkle a small pinch of the sesame (15-20 seeds) into each shot glass.
19. Serve slightly chilled with the “front” of the glass facing your diners.
Tip: The “back” is where the fish rises up the side of the glass.
Note: To eat, use a small pickle fork to slightly toss and mix the shot glasses contents, and eat in one bite.