Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spicy Fermented Black Bean Ramen Egg Foo Young with Seared Salmon Filet and Sushi Vinegar Onions

     The Limitless Expanse Of The Gourmet Ramen Noodle Realm!
     Egg Foo Young is usually made with cabbage, sprouts or vegetables and egg.  Some Egg Foo young batter recipes call for rice flour or wheat flour and some do not.  Adding cooked ramen noodles to egg foo young batter creates a spaghetti omelette (pastira) kind of texture.  
     Only enough sauce is made to coat today's Ramen egg foo young with flavor.  The Ramen Egg Foo Young simmers in chicken broth that is flavored with Korean red serrano chile paste, fermented black beans and soy sauce.  This gives the Ramen Egg Foo Young an interesting savory spicy flavor.

     Sushi Vinegar is sugar sweetened combined rice vinegar and malt vinegar.  Sushi vinegar imitates the flavor of naturally soured rice.  Sushi Rice originally was first created in China.   Rice that was intentionally allowed to sour was the first sushi rice.  Eventually Sushi Rice lost popularity in China and it became a main staple in Korea and Japan.  
     Onions that are quickly braised with sweetened sushi vinegar taste nice and light.  The sweet vinegar onions add an interesting flavor balance to today's recipe.  
     I thought that a seared fish filet would be good for topping off the today's Ramen Egg Foo Young.  The only fish that even remotely looked fresh in two Chicago seafood markets that I visited was Atlantic Farmed Salmon.  Chicago is not always a good place to find good seafood.
     Aquaculture Atlantic Salmon can be good, bad or worse.  It all depends on where the fish farm is located and how the fish farm is operated.  It is best to avoid farmed salmon from warm water regions.  Only North Atlantic fish farms raise high quality salmon.  
     The more natural the farmed salmon meat looks, the better the quality will be.  If the farmed salmon meat looks too good to be real, like when the meat is an opaque pink color with wide muscle strands, then the chances are that plenty of chemicals were used to make the farmed raised salmon look much better than what it really is.  The more that farm raised salmon looks like wild caught salmon, the better the farm raised salmon will be. 

     *This entire recipe yields 1 large portion that can be shared by 2 guests!

     Spicy Fermented Black Bean Sauce for Egg Foo Young:
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/4 cup of rice wine.
     Add 1 tablespoon of fermented black bean paste (or soaked whole dried fermented black beans).
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of coarse Korean red serrano chile paste. 
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of Chinese five spice powder.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Remove the sauce pot from the heat and set it aside.
     Ramen Noodles: 
     Shocking ramen noodles is a traditional method for creating a chewy texture.  
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over high heat.
     Add 1 portion of ramen noodles.
     Stir the noodles occasionally, till they become fully cooked.
     Gather the noodles with a pasta net.  
     Drain the hot water off of the noodles.
     Step 2:  Place the noodles in a bowl of ice water.
     Stir the noodles by hand, till they feel like they have a firm chewy texture.
     Drain the ice water off of the noodles.
     Set the noodles aside.  

     Ramen Egg Foo Young Batter:    
     Step 1:  Place 3 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese five spice powder.
     Add 1 minced green onion.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 2:  Whisk the ingredients together and set the batter aside.

     Seared Salmon Filet:
     Step 1:  Place a 6 ounce salmon filet in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Let the salmon marinate for 5 minutes.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Sear the salmon filet on both sides, till it is fully cooked.  Try to only flip the salmon once, so it gains a nice color.
     Step 3:  Place the seared salmon on a platter and keep it warm on a stove top.

     Sushi Vinegar Onions:
     The object is to cook these onions so they turn clear in color without any browning.  
     Sushi vinegar is sweetened rice vinegar + light malt vinegar.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 cup of sliced onion strips that are about 3/8" wide.
     Gently sauté the onions, till they just start to turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of sushi vinegar.  
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Simmer and reduce, till the liquid evaporates.
     Keep the sushi vinegar onions warm on a stove top.

     Spicy Fermented Black Bean Ramen Noodle Egg Foo Young:
     Step 1:  Heat a large 8" to 10" non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 
     Add 1/2 of the reserved egg foo young batter.
     Step 2:  Spread the ramen noodles evenly on the egg batter, before it cooks.
     Pour the remaining egg foo young batter over the noodles.
     Sauté till golden brown highlights appear on the bottom half of the ramen egg foo young.
     Step 3:  Flip the ramen egg foo young.  
     Step 4:  Sauté till golden brown highlights appear and the eggs are fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Add the reserved thin spicy fermented black bean sauce.
     Add a few pieces of green onion top.
     Step 6:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Gently boil the thin sauce, till most of the liquid evaporates and the remaining sauce clings to the ramen egg foo young.
     Remove the pan from the heat. 

     Spicy Fermented Black Bean Ramen Egg Foo Young with Seared Salmon Filet and Sushi Vinegar Onions:
     Slide the spicy fermented black bean ramen noodle egg foo young onto a plate.
     Place the sushi vinegar onions on the ramen egg foo young.
     Place the seared salmon filet on the onions.
     No garnish is necessary!

     This is not your average gourmet ramen noodle recipe.  This is also not your average egg foo young.  This is a nice tasting combination of these two popular items!

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