Talking summer and sake with TV’s Chef Ming Tsai [plus recipes!]

Simply Ming  - Season 6

If there’s one thing that Boston-based chef Ming Tsai knows well, it’s fresh food. Tsai is the executive chef and owner of Blue Ginger, an award-winning Asian fusion restaurant which specializes in fresh catches of fish.

But you may also know Tsai from hit television show “Simply Ming,” for which he travels the globe, discovering new foods and meeting new chefs. (For the record, if you ever find yourself in Chicago, Tsai insists you try to dine at Grant Achatz’s Next.)

When the chef isn’t working on his show — he’s currently in the middle of taping the 11th season — or wielding his magic in Blue Ginger’s bustling kitchen, you’ll find him throwing an impromptu summer BBQ or two. We asked him to whip up a couple of killer yet low-maintenance recipes for us to try at our next party.

OK, so say we told you that you’re in charge of throwing a BBQ…in one hour. What are you going to make?

The Prep:
“I buy a great vegetable — zucchini, eggplant, or peppers — whatever’s grillable. And I like whole grain so I buy a whole-wheat couscous or quinoa, something that’s super easy. I always grab beautiful ears of corn because on the husk is easy, you just throw them on the grill. It has its own insulator it cooks perfectly, you don’t need to boil water and heat up your kitchen. And I’m a big fan of seafood, it’s just a lighter way to eat during the summer, so I let the eyes and nose dictate. Ask the guy, what’s your freshest fish? — and whatever looks best, smells the best is the fish I’m going to buy.”

The Recipe:
“In a glass or high-edged plate, I add a cup of sake, one-to-two cups of whatever acid I have — the juice of three lemons, the juice of five limes, vinegar, grapefruit, any good acidic juice or vinegar — and then a tablespoon or two of soy sauce, to marinate. Whatever you grill, let it sit in the mixture for two-to-three minutes max. Acid, being acid, will start cooking [the fish] so the outside will get a little pink and it brings the soy and the sake flavor into the protein. You get a much more nuanced flavor of fish that you can’t even pinpoint — but its still so delicious. And by adding sugar or honey, it will help with caramelizing and gets you a better piece of seafood.”

A busy guy, Tsai also recently partnered up with TY KU Sake, a high-end sake brand for which he’s the newest spokesperson. It’s a good fit, because it Tsai is something of a sake-aficianado.  “A misconception about of sake in this country is that most sake in Japan are drunk chilled,” he says. “Cold like champagne. Cold like white wine. I mean cold. When sake was first introduced in this country, it came with the warming machines. So, yes there is sake drunk warm in Japan, usually around mount Fuji in the winter time, but 95 percent of all sake is drunk chilled in Japan.”

Tsai was kind enough to pass us the recipe for his drink of choice this summer — Sake Sangria.

“In traditional sangria, sometimes they add brandy. So instead of brandy, which is a stronger flavor, we’re adding sake to rosé wine,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be Spanish, but keep it in the sangria realm. And, by the way, this is a $10 to $12 bottle of wine — don’t buy a $50 bottle of rosé to make sangria. If you’re making it at home for a picnic, it’s delicious, refreshing, light and low alcohol. It’s really a great summer drink.” [recipe after the jump]

WEK_Tsai_0725

Sake Sangria
Per Glass
1 1/2 oz TYKU Silver
1 1/2 oz Rose Wine
1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Peach Mathilde
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Cranberry Juice
Serve over Ice in a wine glass with fresh fruit
By the pitcher
1750 ml bottle Las Rocas Rose
1750 ml bottle TYKU Silver
1 750 ml bottle Lillet Blanc
5 oz Peach Mathilde
2.5 oz Cranberry Juice
16 oz Pineapple Juice
Serve in a wine glass over ice with fresh fruit

Interest piqued? Tsai also gave us the recipes for his favorite new oyster dish. Says Tsai, “Summer to me, especially in New England, is about oysters and lobster. And there’s no reason to do too much to an oyster. Raw oysters are one of my favorite things in the world to eat. Close to my heart are Duxbury Island Creeks, who are great friends of mine. They have delicious oysters. Instead of just putting shallots with vinegar, we add sake to this and freshly grated wasabi (you can buy frozen grated wasabi, that works just as well). So you get a good little spicy heat note — of course you get the acidic note from the vinegar — and you need the shallot because it’s sweet and makes oysters taste sweeter. And the little surprise of sake makes it a delicious oyster.”

TY KU Sake and Fresh Wasabi Mignonette with Island Creek Oysters
Makes about 1 cup
2 dozen of shucked Island Creek Oysters
1 tablespoon of shallots, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh grated wasabi, or wasabi powder, rehydrated with water
2 tablespoons of TY KU Black Sake
2 tablespoons of Wanjashan Organic Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
chives, chopped
In a bowl combine: shallots, wasabi, Sake, rice vinegar and sugar. Season with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Spoon TY KU Sake and Fresh Wasabi Mignonette over shucked Island Creek Oysters. Garnish with chopped chives. Enjoy.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.