Alaskan Salmon Nanban
Pickled Pearl Onions:
- 2 cups sushi vinegar
- 4 pearl onions
- Half of a kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 persimmons
- 4 cups dashi
- 1/4 cup white soy sauce
- 1/2 brick silken tofu
- 1 cup cream
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup dashi
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 green onion
Salmon and Eggplant:
- Potato starch (just enough to lightly coat the salmon)
- 8 ounces salmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 gallon soybean oil, for frying
- 4 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Micro-cilantro, to garnish
Make the pickled pearl onions: cut the onions in half and peel off the skins; transfer to a heat-proof container. In a small pot, bring the sushi vinegar to a boil. Pour the hot vinegar over the onions. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Make the persimmon–kabocha purée: add the soy sauce and dashi to a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the kabocha and braise until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend to make a smooth purée. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Make the marinade: in a sauce pot, add the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and dashi and bring to a boil. In a dry sauté pan set over high heat, add the green onion. Cook until the onion is charred all over, about 3 minutes. Add the charred onion to the marinade. Let cool.
Heat 2 inches oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 350°F on a thermometer. Place the potato starch onto a large plate or pie dish. Lightly coat the diced salmon in the potato starch, shaking off any excess. Add the coated salmon to the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon and immediately add to the marinade. Remove from the marinade and place on a serving dish while you finish the dish.
Let the oil come up to 350°F, then add the eggplant. Fry for 3 minutes until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon and immediately add to the marinade. Remove from the marinade and place on a serving dish.
To serve, spoon some of the persimmon–kabocha purée alongside the salmon and eggplant and garnish with the micro-cilantro.