Cooking with Local Ingredients
By Chef James Temple
Here are a selection of recipes using fresh, local ingredients, found on TastingHawaii.com.
Sweet Corn Soup with Japanese Fish Cakes
Summertime is time for corn-on-the-cob. Every summer here on Molokai, we buy two or three dozen ears of sweet corn from the Lions Club. We remove the husks and blanch the corn for three minutes in boiling, salted water. After the ears have cooled, we cut the corn off the cobs and put the kernels in Ziploc freezer bags and freeze it for later use, when sweet corn is no longer available.
This Japanese inspired Sweet Corn Soup is a delicious way to use summer corn-off-the-cob any time of year. If fresh corn is not available, use frozen corn.
2 fresh ears of sweet corn-on-the-cob
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced (set aside the green parts)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, very finely chopped
1 6-ounce Amano brand Uzumaki (steamed fish cake), available at Friendly Market
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon rice wine (optional)
32 ounces, of chicken broth (I use the Swanson brand)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 egg plus a pinch of salt, beaten
Remove the husk and silk from the corn and discard. Stand each cob on its end on a chopping board. Cut through the sides of the cob with a sharp knife large. Tip the corn kernels and any milky liquid into a bowl. Set aside, reserving the stripped cobs.
Heat the chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the stripped corn cobs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. This imparts a sweet corn flavor to the stock. Discard the cobs and set the broth aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or wok over a high heat. Quickly fry the white parts of the spring onion together with the chopped ginger for about 30 seconds.
Add the corn, broth and soy sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch with the water and sesame oil. Stir until smooth. Add a few splashes of the hot soup and stir to ensure there are no lumps. Tip the cornstarch mixture back into soup, making sure that it has dissolved.
Pour the beaten egg into the soup, stirring with a fork to break up the strands as they form in the hot soup.
Adjust with seasoning. Add more soy sauce if necessary.
Slice uzumaki into ¼ inch slices and add three slices to the top of each serving, then sprinkle over with chopped spring onion greens. Serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings.
Pahole (Fern) Salad
Hawaii chefs consider pahole fern to be a measure of how serious a restaurant is about using locally sourced vegetables. It is a wetland vegetable found in the higher-altitude rain forests of our islands. On Molokai, pahole fern is sold by local growers.
Pahole fern has high levels of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, as well as potassium and fiber. It is usually made into a delicious and unusually crunchy salad that is often served at potluck dinners or luau here on Molokai, often made with local fish like tenderized ophi, local marinated sliced octopus, or cuttlefish.
Ingredients for salad:
1 big bunch of pahole (1 1/2 pounds)
3 pounds of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 Maui onion, chopped (or red onion)
1 cup of carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup of red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 pound of kimchi marinated sliced octopus
1 watermelon radish for garnish
sesame seeds for garnish
Ingredients for dressing:
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1/3 cup of olive oil or macadamia nut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons fish sauce (Patis), or 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Wash the fern thoroughly. Break the ends off of the fern like you would raw asparagus to find the tender part of the stim, then cut fern into 3/4-inch pieces. Blanch the fern in salted boiling water along with the carrots, red pepper and onion until “crisp tender” for about 30 seconds, then drain and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain the vegetables, gently blot with paper towels and place in a bowl, then refrigerate.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar and lime juice, oil, honey, fish sauce, and black pepper to taste. Gently stir the dressing and pour it over the fern and other vegetables. Cover and chill for one hour. Taste the salad for additional seasoning if needed, then garnish with octopus pieces, watermelon radishes and sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings.
Note: The watermelon radishes used as a garnish in this salad came from Stefanie, who sells her plants, vegetables and many other tasty things at our Saturday Farmers Market here on Molokai.
Grilled Local Venison Tenderloin
Tender cuts of venison should be cooked quickly to a rare or medium-rare level of doneness. If it is prepared past medium-rare too much moisture will be cooked out causing the meat to become dry and tough.
2, 1-pound venison tenderloins, or beef tenderloin if you can’t get venison
1 head of garlic
1-2 tablespoons sea salt to taste
1/2 cup rosemary needles
6-8 dry bay leaves, crumbled
3-4 teaspoons dried Mediterranean herbs, such as oregano, basil, and thyme
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
1/4 cup olive oil ground
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A grill and charcoal
The day before your dinner, trim the tenderloins, removing all visible fat and most of the silver skin (translucent membrane). If the loins have a long tapered end, curl the thin end back and toothpick it in place so it doesn’t overcook. Now make a paste out of the marinade ingredients, garlic, sea salt, rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, basil, thyme, soy sauce, olive oil, and black pepper in a mortar, blender, or food processor. Pour the sauce into a large zipper-top plastic freezer bag and let rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Turn the bag once or twice during this time to distribute the marinade. Bring the tenderloins to room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes before cooking.
Prepare your charcoal grill. Once the coals have cooked down a little to medium high, and have a nice grey dust on them, put the tenderloins, directly over the coals, and grill for about 6-8 minutes of cooking per inch of thickness for the tenderloins. Keep turning the tenderloins, then check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 125˚F for rare, 130˚F for medium rare, any higher and the venison will get tough. If you don’t have a thermometer, you will have to make a small cut into the meat to check for doneness.
Remove the tenderloins to a warm platter and cover with foil for a few minutes. This allows the juices to stay in the meat, not on your cutting board. Keep everything warm in a 200˚F oven, covered with foil, until ready to serve, then cut the tenderloins into 1 inch rounds, or cut them on an angle. Makes 4 servings.