Saturday, 4 September 2010

Crunchy vs. Creamy: Weapon of Choice: Sesame Seeds!

In that ages old battle of crunchy vs. creamy I stand firmly in the camp of both! I am the woman leaning in her darkened door saying "hey, why not ask for more?". Not that such a lady is ever truly satisfied, but when leaving one option aside there will always be lingering doubt and regret - and who wants to risk that? I say hedge your bets and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Crunchy and creamy - in this case illustrated rather deliciously by sesame seeds.

Imagine being at that magical time of your career when you can decide that you want Christopher Walken to tapdance and fly in your video - and can make it happen! Weapon of choice is the perfect anthem to this texture dilemma and besides, I love Christopher Walken.

You could go with this (Crunchy)

Sesame-Crusted Fish with Soy, Butter, and Ginger Sauce
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything website
Makes 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes

This dish is a breeze, largely because of the sesame seed crust, which guarantees both flavor and crunch. And the sauce takes about 3 minutes to make.

Use any firm white fillets you like here, from sea bass to red snapper or grouper.

1 cup sesame seeds, more or less
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
4 (6-ounce) skinless fillets black sea bass, red snapper, or the like
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat while you prepare the sesame seeds. Put them on a plate and season with salt and pepper; add the oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, begin to turn the fillets in the seeds, encouraging them to coat the fillets as fully as possible, and add the fillets to the skillet.

2. Brown the fish on 1 side for a couple of minutes, then turn and brown on the other side, another minute or two. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the fish to a plate (don't worry if it's done); put the plate of fish in the oven to keep warm.

3. When the skillet has cooled slightly, return it to the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and, when it melts, the ginger. About 30 seconds later, add the soy sauce and 1/4 cup water and stir to blend. Return the fillets to the skillet, along with any of their accumulated juices.

4. Turn the heat to medium and cook the fillets for a total of about 4 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times. (If at any time the pan seems to dry out entirely, add 2 or 3 tablespoons water.) At this point, the fish should be done (a thin-bladed knife inserted into its thickest point will meet little resistance). Serve with the pan juices spooned over the fish.

Or you could go with that (Creamy)

Cold Noodles With Sesame Sauce

Yield 4 servings
Time About 30 minutes
Mark Bittman


* Salt
* 1 cup cucumber
* 12 ounces long pasta like linguine, or fresh Chinese egg noodles
* 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
* 1/2 cup sesame paste (tahini)
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon minced ginger, optional
* 1 tablespoon rice or wine vinegar
* Hot sesame oil or Sriracha sauce to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more
* At least 1/2 cup minced scallions for garnish


* 1. Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Meanwhile, peel cucumber, cut in half, and, using a spoon, scoop out seeds. Cut cucumber into shreds and set aside.
* 2. When water comes to a boil, cook pasta until tender but not mushy. While pasta is cooking, whisk together sesame oil and paste, sugar, soy, ginger, vinegar, hot oil and pepper in a large bowl. Thin sauce with hot water, so that it is about the consistency of heavy cream; you will need 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Stir in cucumber. When pasta is done, drain it and run pasta (and chicken, if necessary) under cold water. Drain.
* 3. Toss noodles with sauce and cucumbers. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (the dish may need salt), then garnish and serve.

Source: The New York Times

I say go with both, deliciously.