A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
David Padberg, Executive chef at Park Kitchen in Portland, Oregon, demonstrates how to make real Wasabi, and shows some of the excellent foods that it can be used on as a garnish.
Coming next: in the Field—Visit to a Rare Wasabi Farm
Recipes courtesy of Chef David Padberg, Park Kitchen:
- For one 4oz stick of salted butter, add one teaspoon grated wasabi. If you want a more heroic potency, add up to one tablespoon.
- A puree of only wasabi leaves is a little too strong for most people. I recommend using equal parts wasabi leaves and spinach leaves.
- To stabilize the vibrant green pigment, plunge the leaves in boiling salted water for 15 seconds, then transfer into an ice water bath. Once they are cooled, drain the excess water. A good ratio to start with is 3 oz blanched spinach, 3 oz blanched wasabi leaves, and 12 oz vegetable broth or water.
- To make the work easier on the blender, rough chop the leaves, then add them to the blender with the broth and puree. Once the leaves are spinning in the blender, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (a vegetable starch available in most grocery and health food stores). Allow the blender enough time to break up the leaves entirely, about three minutes.
- Pass the puree through a fine sieve and press on the solids to release all the juices. Discard the solid fibers.
- Make a mixture of two parts granulated sugar and one part salt.
- Take about one dozen wasabi leaves and/or stems and sprinkle them with the mixture, probably little more than a tablespoon will do.
- In a stainless steel bowl, crush the leaves with your hands, massaging the mixture into the bruised and ruptured cell walls.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow the leaves to macerate with the mixture for about thirty minutes, then rinse in cold water and strain the liquid.
- Chop the leaves and/or stems and fold into the grain salad or mayonnaise or whatever you want to use with them.