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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Shrimp Tempura with Cabbage Salad and Cinnamon Oil

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a chef I will always have a special place for. He was a superstar in New York, and now the world. JoJo, his first restaurant, was so innovative — there he served French food, losing the heavy dairy, and adding Asian influences. He used vegetable-infused sauces and flavored oils, and changed the way we looked at high-end French cooking. His ideas are now so copied they seem like old hat, but at the time he was a rebel. This recipe is from his 1990 cookbook Simple Foods. Sometimes simple is best!

Ingredients for cinnamon oil
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
2 cups canola oil

Ingredients for salad
3 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Ingredients for tempura
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons water
large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups canola oil

Procedure for cinnamon oil
This needs to be made a couple days ahead, but it's super easy. Mix the cinnamon and water to make a smooth paste. It should be about the consistency of ketchup. Adjust water as necessary. Put paste in a clean jar and add the canola oil. Cover jar tightly and shake vigorously. Let jar sit for two days, shaking a few times a day. The spices will settle to the bottom. After two days, strain the oil through a coffee filter into another clean jar. This will keep in the fridge for a month. This procedure also works with all different kinds of herbs; coriander, mustard, paprika, etc.

Procedure for salad and shrimp
Toss the shredded cabbage thoroughly with the honey, vinegar, coriander, citrus zests, ginger, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least one hour.

To make the tempura batter, combine equal parts cornstarch and water and mix well. In a large pot, heat the canola oil. Dip the shrimp into batter and fry in hot oil for about one minute. Drain on paper paper towels, and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Serve on top of salad, and drizzle with a little cinnamon oil.