Masaki Sugisaki’s Japanese summer meal – recipes

Prep 25 min
Marinade 2 hr+
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

For the broth
600ml dashi stock, ready-made or from powdered dashi (both are available in large supermarkets, though if you use powdered, follow the instructions on the packet)
75ml soy sauce
ml mirin
1 tsp (5ml) fresh ginger juice
– finely grate 20g ginger, then squeeze to extract the liquid

For the nibitashi
1 medium aubergine, cut in half lengthways and each half cut lengthways into four
cherry tomatoes, heritage, ideally, for both taste and look
60g mangetout
1 medium courgette
, cut into 2cm-wide discs
½ red pepper
, stem, pith and seeds removed, flesh cut into 1cm-wide strips
½ orange pepper, stem, pith and seeds removed, flesh cut into 1cm-wide strips
¼ summer squash (about 200g), peeled, deseeded and cut into ½cm-wide strips
Olive oil
, for frying
1 tsp (5
ml) sesame oil, to serve
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, to serve

Put all the ingredients for the broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then take off the heat (do not let it bubble and reduce). Score the aubergine flesh all over in a criss-cross pattern, soak in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to a boil and fill a bowl with iced water. Lightly score a cross in the base of each tomato, blanch in the boiling water for five seconds, then transfer to the ice bath. Once chilled, peel and put in the broth pot.

Blanch the mangetout in the same boiling water for a minute, chill in the ice bath, drain and add to the broth. Pour enough olive oil into a large saute pan to come 1cm up the sides, then heat to about 170C (if you don’t have a probe, test by mixing a half-teaspoon of plain flour and a teaspoon of water in small bowl, then drop a little into the oil: if it sinks to the bottom, then floats up to surface after three seconds, the oil is ready).

Fry the aubergine, courgette, pepper and squash in turn, and without overloading the pan, for about two minutes each, until lightly coloured, then remove, drain on kitchen paper and add to the broth pot while they are still hot. Leave the vegetables to cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge and leave to marinate for two hours, or longer (nibitashi is traditionally served cold, but it can also be eaten hot or warm, in which case just heat it up gently after it has marinated).

Ladle the vegetables into deep bowls with a little broth, drizzle with sesame oil, scatter the chopped spring onions on top and serve.

Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

For the ponzu sauce
15g dried porcini
ml rice vinegar
ml soy sauce
ml fresh lemon juice
mirin (or ⅓ tbsp sugar)

For the porcini salsa
2½ tbsp (10g) finely chopped white onion
1 tsp (5ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and
black pepper

For the fish
280g sashimi-quality salmon – if you’re not using sashimi-grade fish, you’ll need to cure it for two hours in a brine of 1.2 litres cold water, 60g (or 5%) salt and 30g (2½%) sugar
1½ tbsp (5g) finely chopped chives
1 tsp (5ml)
extra-virgin olive oil

Lightly wash the porcini under running water, then drain. Put all the ingredients for the ponzu sauce in a bowl and leave to infuse at room temperature for half an hour. Strain into a bowl though muslin or a very fine sieve, squeeze out the liquid from the drained porcini into the bowl, too, then set both aside.

Meanwhile, make the salsa. Finely chop the drained porcini. Put the onion in a small sieve, rinse under cold running water for five minutes, then drain and mix with the porcini, the other salsa ingredients and two teaspoons of the reserved ponzu sauce, and season to taste.

Next, sear the fish (if you’re using cured and brined fish, drain and dry it first). Have ready a large bowl filled with iced water. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a hot frying pan and, once it starts to smoke, lightly season the fish with salt and sear all over for just three to five seconds a side. Transfer the salmon to the ice bath for a minute, then lift out and drain on kitchen paper.

Cut the seared salmon into very thin (½mm-thick, ideally) slices and arrange on a platter. Spoon a little salsa on to each slice, then spoon about 50ml of the reserved ponzu sauce all over the fish. Scatter the chives on top, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve at room temperature.

Prep 35 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4

For the sweet soy vinaigrette
120ml soy sauce
120ml rice vinegar
140ml cold water
55g caster sugar
2 tsp (10ml) sesame oil
2 tsp (10ml) gochujang
paste (optional)

For the steamed chicken
2 x 150g skinless chicken breasts
10g dried kombu

1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp roughly chopped spring onion greens
50ml cooking-grade sake
1 tsp (5ml) soy sauce

For the omelettes
3 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
⅓ tsp salt

To finish
½ cucumber
2 large tomatoes
4 large asparagus stalks
240g dried egg noodles
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp dijon mustard
, to serve

Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.

Butterfly the chicken breasts so they’re an even thickness all over. Put the kombu in the base of a deep tray or ceramic dish, and scatter over half the ginger and spring onion greens. Lay the chicken on top, and cover with the remaining ginger and spring onions. Drizzle the sake all over the contents of the dish, season with the soy and a little salt, and cover with clingfilm or reusable wrap.

Bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer on a medium-low heat, perch the chicken dish on top and leave to steam for 20 minutes. Take off the heat, set aside to cool, then lift out the chicken and strain the kombu, ginger and onion juices through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Tear the chicken into thin strips, add to the juice bowl and set aside.

Whisk all the omelette ingredients until well combined and the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a medium nonstick frying pan on a medium-low heat. Pour in a quarter of the egg mix, swirl it around to cover the base of the pan and leave for a minute or two, until set all the way through. Transfer to a board and repeat with the remaining omelette mix. Once all four omelettes are cooked, lay them on top of each other on the board, roll up into a cylinder and cut into thin julienne strips.

Now to finish the dish. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, use a teaspoon to remove and discard the seeds, then cut the flesh into julienne strips. Blanch and peel the tomatoes as in the nibitashi recipe above, cut into quarters, remove and discard the seeds, then cut the flesh into julienne strips.

Bring a small pan of salted water to a boil, blanch the asparagus for two minutes, then chill in iced water, drain on kitchen paper and slice thinly on an angle.

Boil the noodles according to the packet instructions (timings vary depending on brand), adding a minute to the cooking time. Drain, refresh in iced water (this is what gets them to the right texture), drain again and put on a platter. Pour over half the vinaigrette, then top the noodles with the chicken, omelette strips and sliced vegetables. Pour over the rest of the dressing, scatter with sesame seeds and sesame oil, and serve with mustard on the side.

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