Taste the Sea of Korea at the Chef’s Club

By Jasmin Justo

Taste the Sea of Korea” is a tasting event held one week before Thanksgiving to inspire new creative ways to have a healthier and flavorful Thanksgiving feast. Representatives from the sponsoring organizations, the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Korea Agro-Trade Center, attended the event.

The Chef’s Club by Food and Wine presents Chef David Lee’s new Korean flavored American dishes. His specialty in traditional Korean cuisine and his love for western cuisine has inspired him to recreate Korean flavors for the Western palette. Using fresh ingredients from Korea’s seas, his dishes are rich in nutrients and flavor. Chef Lee uses select seafood special to Korea’s gastronomy. His main features are his Seaweed Noodle Salad, Jeju Island garlic fed Fluke with Seaweed Roulade and Abalone Potato Gnocchi.

Chef David Lee hosted a cooking demonstration with Chef Diane Hendricks, an expert in healthy culinary cooking. Chef Hendricks shares her knowledge on the health benefits of the Korean seafood ingredients used in his main dishes. In his first demonstration of creating the seaweed noodle salad, he shows how quick and easy it is to prepare the salad by simply rinsing the noodles and making the sauce easily with a blender. Chef Hendricks informed the audience of the healthy benefits of seaweed noodles in comparison to whole grain pastas. The seaweed she explains, is rich in iron and magnesium, two very essential minerals good for blood pressure and metabolism. With the seaweed noodles, the chef prepared the Fideo sauce, a blend of olive oil, shallots, diced bell pepper, minced garlic, and cuttlefish ink, garnished with bitter green leaves. This cold dish has a interesting mix of flavors because it was a little bit sweet, bitter and salty and most of all, fresh.

Next Chef David Lee demonstrated how to create the Jeju Island Garlic-fed Fluke and Seaweed Roulade. The fluke, he explains, is a native fish from the Jeju islands. It naturally feeds off the garlic plant, absorbing all the natural antioxidants properties of the plant. This also gives the fish meat flavor. Chef Lee also cautions the audience the importance of cutting the fish delicately to not damage the meat. To prepare the fluke Roulade, first the fish must be cut into fillets. Then place the fillets in wax paper or parchment paper and sprinkle fish glue powder or all purpose flour. Wrap each one into a log shape and refrigerate for three hours for the meat to stick together. Then season the fluke with salt and pepper and sauté until golden brown. The fish itself is very tender and fresh. The sauce taste a bit like citrus and the spiciness quickly disappears and the bitter green leaves offer the essential B vitamins.

Lastly, Chef Lee demonstrates how to prepare his original Korean abalone potato gnocchi. The Korean abalone is quite small compared to others but nonetheless it is very rich in magnesium and vitamin E, good for the heart and eye health. Also by preparing this unique sea snail with potatoes, the dish is a energy booster providing the carbs to keep on working hard throughout the day. The chef explains the importance of separating the meat of the abalone from the rest of its insides because they can be toxic if not handled properly. On that cautionary note, he emphasizes the importance to boil the abalone meat until it is tender to properly cook it and have the right texture. While the abalone cooks, he suggests baking the peeled potatoes for 30 minutes. Once the two are ready dice the abalone and mix with the peeled potatoes along with flour, ground pepper, nutmeg, butter, olive oil, and egg. Once everything is mixed, he rolled the mixture into a log shape and cut them into coin size. He than boils the gnocchi for 45 seconds and quickly places them in a ice bath to create a firm but soft texture. After the gnocchi is cool, he drains them and begins frying them until they are golden brown, seasoning the gnocchi with pepper and salt. The final result is a firm chewy gnocchi accompanied by his own Parmigianino Laver Chips, made from melted Parmigianino cheese and roasted laver. At the event there was also a delicious appetizer of cooked oysters with fried kimchi, dried salted anchovies, and seaweed chips. Soju and Makgeolli cocktails made from traditional Korean liquor complemented the cuisines.

The Fluke, Abalone, Oyster and Gim introduced at his cooking session can be found at can be found at www.hmart.com and www.hanyangmart.com. The seaweed noodles can be found at www.seasnax.com. To savour more of his original dishes, do stop by at Goggan restaurant, located at West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036.

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