Wednesday, May 24, 2017

W is for: Wasabi Potato Salad & Wagyu Beef

For some reason, this specific blog post has been staring at me from my "to-do" list for longer than I care to admit.

And I don't really know why exactly. Both recipes turned out awesome, so I know it's not that. Justin took the photos, which are beautiful, so it's not that either.
If I'm being honest with myself, the reason is probably fairly simple. 

Life.

Sometimes life happens. And it changes plans and sucks your energy and adds things to your to-do list that are more pressing than a wasabi potato salad.

As many of you know, I was laid off from my job at ESPN as part of the mass talent cuts made on April 26th. For anyone who has ever been laid off, you'll understand me when I say it's a punch to the gut. They can tell me all day long it's about business and money and changing times in the industry. But at some point during that HR meeting, your eyes glaze over and the people talking start to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. And all you really hear is "you're no longer needed here."


I know what you're thinking. "Well now you have even MORE time for blogging!" In theory, yes. But instead of working 5 days a week, I'm busy stressing about other things. Like trying to figure out what to do with the house I just bought in September & deciding what I want to do with my career. So yeah, kinda major LIFE things.

There's also this ironic twist. Telling people to buy a $35 cut of meat when I don't have a job. But you know what? Maybe *you* have a job. And maybe you would like to try this delicious cut of meat and maybe enjoy it with a wasabi potato salad. So here I am. Finally finishing this blog post six weeks later.


I have to admit though, my procrastination actually produced some good timing. We've got the official kick-off of Potato Salad Season coming up this weekend, making it the perfect time to introduce a new twist on an old classic for your Memorial Day BBQ's.


I've never actually used wasabi at home previously, so I was pretty excited to try it out in a recipe. You can find it at Asian markets and in the Asian section of your local grocery store. A little can like this will only run you about two bucks. 



To make the dressing for the potato salad, first take 1.5 teaspoons of the wasabi powder and add a little water to make a paste. (It's ok if it's a little thinner than the wasabi you use at sushi restaurants because we are going to mix it into a dressing.) To the wasabi paste, add the mayo, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, a pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. (Or, if making ahead of time, store in the refrigerator.)



For the potatoes, I decided to go with baby reds. I love to leave the skin on for the color. To prep, simply wash and cut into about 1-inch pieces and place into a salted pot of water.



Boil potatoes until tender. I like just a slight bite to mine, so I don't boil as long as I would for mashed potatoes, just long enough that you can easily pierce with a paring knife. (Alternately, you can also boil potatoes whole, and slice afterwards... whatever you prefer.) Drain and cool slightly, though not completely.


Since I was using the wasabi, I decided to do an entire Asian take on potato salad, grabbing for some other traditionally Asian ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy and green onions. To prep the mushrooms, wipe any dirt off with a damp cloth (don't ever wash mushrooms.) You can also remove any parts of the stem that seem tough. Cut the cleaned mushrooms into 1/4" slices.


Sauté the mushrooms in a little oil over medium heat until they soften, adding more oil if necessary.


Dress the potatoes and mushrooms with the wasabi mayo while the ingredients are still slightly warm. (This will help it stick to the potatoes better, and infuse some of those flavors instead of just sort of "sitting" on top of the potatoes.)


For color and texture, I added some sliced green onions and sliced stems of one baby bok choy. (I reserved the leaves for some colorful garnish, see below.) Gently mix everything together. I actually prefer this served at room temperature, but you can also cover and refrigerate for 2 hours if you would rather serve it cold.


More than likely, if you are making this for a BBQ, you will serve it in a large bowl. BUUUT... if you would like to get a little fancy, I found the baby bok choy leaves to provide a perfect colorful pop to serve the salad in individual dishes.


Now.... onto the BEEF! Of course, I purchased mine from my favorite butcher, Matt at Avon Prime Meats. First thing's first. This is not Kobe beef, which is a common misconception in the U.S. (people use Kobe and Wagyu interchangeably, which is incorrect.) Kobe is a very specific strain of Wagyu cattle. Much like the fact that real Champagne can only come from Champagne, France, real Kobe beef can only come from Kobe, Japan and there are very strict guidelines.

The term "Wagyu" simply refers to any cattle bred in Japan *or* in the Japanese style (Wa means Japanese, gyu means cattle.) That said, you can still buy extremely delicious "American Wagyu," which Japanese style beef that has been cross-bred with imported Japanese cows and fed a similar diet. The results are beautiful marbling and rich flavor, with lower cholesterol and more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than traditional beef.

Are your eyes glazing over yet? I tend to nerd out when researching this stuff because I find it super interesting. (And I want you to be informed.) But at the end of the day, just make sure you buy from a reputable butcher and farm (APM & Snake River Farms in this case), you will have a delicious cut of meat. Speaking of which, this cut is called Zabuton, which we would call the chuck. This cost about $35 per pound, compared to a more expensive cut, which would have run me $45.


When you splurge for expensive beef, it doesn't take much to make it taste AH-mazing. It's best enjoyed rare to medium rare, so all you need is a little salt & pepper and a good sear. You could try this on the grill, but Matt recommended the stove/oven because of all the marbeling, it's prone to flare-ups on the grill which can lead to an incorrectly cooked steak. A good cast iron pan will give you more control over the cooking process. (In other words, harder to eff up.)

Make sure your beef is at room temperature. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet on high until smoking hot, add seasoned steak and sear for a two minutes on all four sides, starting with the fattiest side (to create some rendered fat in the pan.) Finish it off in a 400 degree oven until 125-130 degrees for rare. Transfer to a cutting board and pour any juices from the pan over the top. Allow it to rest under tented foil for at least five minutes. (The steak's internal temperature will continue to rise/cook as it rests.)


Since I already had the wasabi powder from the potato salad, I decided to mix some up to serve with the steak. I don't think words can accurately describe how amazing this was. Rich, buttery, melt-in-your mouth status. Yeah, like I said, the words don't do it justice. You'll just have to take my word for it... or try it out yourself. Maybe I'll make some more soon... to celebrate me finally posting this blog.

Wasabi Potato Salad

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: side potato mushroom bok choy wasabi Asian summer

Ingredients (8 side servings)
    For the dressing:
    • 1.5 teaspoons wasabi powder + a little water
    • 1.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (can sub white vinegar)
    • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • pinch of sugar
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    For the potato salad:
    • 1.5 pounds red potatoes
    • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
    • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 1 stalk baby bok choy, stems chopped (leaves reserved for garnish, if desired)
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    For the dressing:
    1. Mix 1.5 teaspoons of the wasabi powder with a little water to make a paste. (It's ok if it's a little thinner than the wasabi you use at sushi restaurants because we are going to mix it into a dressing.)
    2. To the wasabi paste, add the mayo, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, a pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. (Or, if making ahead of time, store in the refrigerator.)

    For the salad:
    1. Wash and cut potatoes into about 1-inch pieces and place into a salted pot of water.
    2. Boil potatoes until tender, just long enough that you can easily pierce with a paring knife. Drain and cool slightly, though not completely.
    3. Wipe any dirt off mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove any parts of the stem that seem tough. Cut the cleaned mushrooms into 1/4" slices. Sauté the mushrooms in a little oil over medium heat until they soften, adding more oil if necessary.
    4. Combine potatoes and mushrooms and dress with the wasabi mayo while the ingredients are still slightly warm. Gently fold in green onions and baby bok choy stems and season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate 2 hours and serve cold.
    Powered by Recipage
    Wagyu Beef

    by Jaymee Sire
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Keywords: entree gluten-free low-carb beef steak wagyu Japanese

    Ingredients (2 (8 ounce) servings)
    • 1 pound Zabuton Wagyu Beef (Wagyu chuck)
    • salt & pepper
    • wasabi paste (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Allow steak to come to room temperature.
    2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Open windows and switch on overhead fan/vent.
    3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until smoking hot (about 10 minutes.)
    4. Season steak with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
    5. Hold the fattiest side of the meat onto the pan so it starts to render and create some fat in the pan. Sear all four sides 2 minutes each. You should have a nice, brown crust on all sides.
    6. Transfer pan to the pre-heated oven and finish cooking until internal temperature reads 125-130 degrees (for a rare steak).
    7. Transfer steak to cutting board and allow to rest at least five minutes under tented foil. Slice steak against the grain, and pour any remaining juices from the pan. Season with a little sea salt, and if desired, serve with a little wasabi paste.
    Powered by Recipage

    2 comments:

    1. Wow! Great read and great recipe.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Jaymee: this looks really good. I'm a bit of a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist on potato salad, but this one is intriguing enough to tempt me to try it. A question about the beef: what do you think about a reverse sear (ie, oven first to 125, then the scalding hot cast iron sear to finish)? I tried this technique a little while back and liked the result.
      You are still missed and appreciated in the Bay Area! Best of luck with your future plans.

      ReplyDelete

    I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...