葱烧海参配Groffier Bonnes Mares
Braised Sea Cucumber with Scallions and Groffier Bonnes Mares
Sea Cucumbers have long been considered an exceptional seafood delicacy, and Braised Sea Cucumber with Scallions is a must-have dish in any Shandong cuisine banquet.
Cooking sea cucumber is a delicate affair requiring a lot of experience and mastery of the ingredient, or else the whole dish can easily be ruined beyond repair. The two key steps are the rehydration of the sea cucumbers and infusing them with flavours. Soaking dried sea cucumbers allows them to retrieve their original size and volume. As dried sea cucumbers absorb water poorly, this step is extremely time-consuming and challenging. The rehydration process is further complicated by the various sizes and degree of hardness of the sea cucumbers, meaning only highly experienced chefs manage to rehydrate these sea animals to the optimal state. Sea cucumbers on their own are quite bland in taste, and need to be infused with seasoning to enhance flavours. In traditional Shandong cooking, the sea cucumbers are first blanched in stock, and then, like a lot of other classic Shandong dishes, braised until they are completely imbued with the savours. The braising process is meticulous. First, in a wok over high heat, fry lard and sugar into caramel, then add scallions, ginger slices and the sea cucumber for stir-frying. A clear stock and seasoning is then introduced and brought to a boil. Immediately afterwards, the wok is moved over low heat to greatly reduce the sauce, before the whole dish is fried again on high heat to lock in all flavours.
The adept use of scallions is also characteristic of Shandong cuisine. Scallions produced from Zhangqiu can reach 1.5 metres long and has a mild and pleasant flavour. In the Braised Sea Cucumber dish, the scallions are first deep-fried till golden and then steamed in a bath of stock and cooking wine. The juice is then discarded, only the scallions are kept, returned to the wok and seared to serve with the sea cucumbers. The soft and al dente texture of the sea cucumbers and the lush sauce make the dish a true feast for the palate. Despite sea cucumbers’ being seafood, the scallion-braised cooking method makes the dish perfectly suited to be enjoyed with a richly bodied Burgundy Pinot Noir Grand Cru, or alongside the mineral and fruity aromas of an expressive Burgundy Chardonnay. Early 2016. Austin Zhang.