I’ve spent the last five months at an amazing restaurant that shut its doors on Sunday. Japonais, a Japanese restaurant cooked in French styles, was my place to be creative with drinks as well as allowed me to talk about the thing I love the most: food. I had a blast there and made amazing friends. I developed a bond with the staff that I have never had at any workplace. On top of that, I truly got to learn more about the service industry and truly value the work, friendship, and support of all the players in the restaurant industry.
One of the dishes that I constantly sold and was sure to be a crowd pleaser was the Crispy Shrimp and Salmon. Now, Japonais had really delicious traditional sushi dishes, but the Crispy Shrimp and Salmon, amongst the three other specialty rolls, where exceptional. It was a traditional panko fried shrimp inside a sushi roll and topped with soy marinated salmon sashimi and drizzled with a wasabi tobiko sauce. Yeah. Sounds decadent huh? It was. In a very good way though.
I tried to recreate this dish at home but hit a few obstacles. The problem with sushi is that it’s not fun to make (or cost affective) unless it is in bulk. The process of making sushi rice, collecting the ingredients, and marinating sushi grade salmon did not make my wallet happy. So, I just took the main pieces that I thought I could realistically make and then just hope one day I make it to the Chicago or Vegas location.
So, this is a variation of the dish. I did a panko fried shrimp and just accompanied it with a wasabi tobiko sauce. Tobiko is pretty great if you have never tried it. It’s the caviar of the flying fish. It creates a crunchy, popping texture when you bite into it and adds VERY subtle briny flavor in the sauce. If you don’t have access to tobiko, you can use masago. If you don’t like either, then omit it. It’s ok. For this dish, you can make this sauce a couple of days in advance. The wasabi flavor will be a little stronger, but that’s what makes my sinuses happy. Also, I used something called Kewpie Mayo. Kewpie is the brand of a Japanese mayonnaise that’s a little sweeter than the American version. If you can’t find Kewpie, then the “red, white, and blue” version is fine.
1/4 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp tobiko or masago (optional)
1/4 cup scallion, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise (kewpie if you have it)
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying
2 lb of medium shrimp, peeled with tail still on
1 large egg
1 tbs water
1 cup flour
1 cup panko
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside
pour oil in a deep pot or fryer and heat on high
clean shrimp and de-shell if necessary (freeze shell for broth some other time)
beat egg with water in a shallow dish, set aside
season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, set aside
pour panko in a (surprise, surprise) shallow dish, and set aside
coat shrimp in flour and shake of excess flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko bread crumbs.
fry in oil (when you insert a wood chopstick or handle of a wood spoon and bubbles form around it, then it’s ready-Thank you Rachel Ray for that tip-) until golden brown.
remove from oil and let drain on towel for a few minutes
serve with wasabi mayonnaise