Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hawaiian Style Ramen Noodles with Smoked Duck Breast, Pineapple & Spam Lardons

     Gourmet Ramen Noodle Creations Are Fun food!
     Basically, anything goes and there are no limits in the gourmet ramen noodle game.  Ramen Noodles are the perfect creative medium for letting it all hang out.  Think of a theme or flavor combination and wing it!  Creative fun is what the gourmet ramen trend is all about!

     Hawaiian cuisine is definitely a fun tropical island style of food.  Great flavor combinations are the key to both traditional Hawaiian food and modern creative Hawaiian food.  Hawaiian food flavors are perfect for making a tasty ramen creation, especially when the Asian fusion cuisine factor is part of the picture.
     Everybody has their own personal favorite ramen noodle recipe that they created.  There has been a trend of creative fun ramen noodle restaurants opening up worldwide the last few years.  Most of the gourmet ramen noodle restaurants are located in big city Chinatown plazas or tourist destination areas, where people want fun food or to try something new.

     While attending chef school a few years ago, butchering a duck was on the agenda.  One duck breast was supposed to be hot smoked.  Oddly enough, that was all there was to the assignment.  There was no recipe or food presentation planned for the smoked duck breast.
     Instead of simply snacking on the smoked duck breast like everybody else, I brought the duck breast home, because an item like smoked duck breast really deserves to be featured in some kind of a nice recipe.
     Instead of doing some kind of a refined French recipe that intimidates most folks that casually seek recipe ideas on the internet, I decided to go hog wild with a gourmet ramen idea.  Gourmet ramen noodle creations are far more interesting than intimidating, especially when a nice item like smoked duck breast is featured.  Like I have said many times before, when a gourmet ramen recipe idea comes to mind, just go for it and let it all hang out!

     Spam Lardons?  Technically lardons are diced cubes of pork fat that are fried crisp.  As every Spam fan knows, Spam contains a high percentage of gelled pork fat.  This might be stretching it a bit, but there is enough fat in Spam to qualify this product for making lardons.  Since Spam is legendary in Hawaiian cuisine, I am sure that Hawaiian readers will agree!

     Smoked Duck Breast:
     • You will need a smoker, a make-shift smoker or a char grill with a lid if you want to smoke the duck breast yourself.  Those who have smokers, probably already know how to use them.
     • Hot smoking and cold smoking are two smoking methods.  Hot smoking is done at a high enough temperature to cook the meat.  The temperature for hot smoking can range between 185ºF to about 250ºF.  Usually poultry is smoked in the lower temperature range and red meats are smoked in the higher end of the range.  Duck breast should be slowly hot smoked between 185ºF and 200ºF, because duck breast cooks quickly.  The low range temperature will allow the smoke flavor to penetrate the meat, without drying the duck breast out.  Juicy moist and tender smoked duck breast is best.
     • For the smoke, use a mild combination of wood flavors like 3 parts white oak and 1 part hickory.
     • The duck breast can be boneless or to prevent shrinkage, leave the rib bones attached.  Do not remove the skin.
     • Season the duck breast with Kosher Salt and black pepper.
     • Smoke the duck breast, till it reaches a medium/medium well done center temperature of about 130ºF to 140ºF.
     • For those who cannot smoke meats because of housing regulations, smoked duck can be purchased at some butcher shops.  Some butchers will smoke meats by request.  If no options are available, then simply roast a duck breast in a 350º oven or sauté the duck breast till it is medium/medium well done.
     Hawaiian Style Pineapple & Spam Lardons:
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 3 tablespoons of small chopped bermuda onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced Spam.
     Sauté till the spam and onions till light golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Add 2 teaspoons of brunoise seeded red jalapeño pepper.  (brunoise = 1/8" dice)
     Add 1/2 cup of pineapple that is cut into small bite size cubes.
     Sauté till the pineapple becomes lightly caramelized on the edges.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Keep the pan warm on a stove top.

     Hawaiian Style Ramen Noodles with Smoked Duck Breast, Pineapple & Spam Lardons:
     Step 1:  Heat 3/4 cup of seasoned pork broth in a sauté pan over medium low heat.  
     Step 2:  Cook 1 portion of ramen noodles in boiling water over high heat.
     When the ramen noodles are fully cooked, drain the water off of the noodles.
     Place the noodles in a large noodle bowl.
     Step 3:  Cut the smoked duck breast into thin slices.
     Place the sliced smoked duck breast in the pork broth for a few seconds to warm them up.
     Arrange the slices of smoked duck breast on the ramen noodles so they look nice.  Leave an open space on the center of the noodles for the Pineapple and Spam Lardons.
     Step 4:  Mound the Pineapple and Spam Lardons on the center of the ramen noodles.
     Pour the pork broth around the noodles in the bowl.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig or a cilantro sprig.

     Viola!  Gourmet Hawaiian style ramen noodles with smoked duck breast!  

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