Cookbook review: Tetsuya by Tetsuya Wakuda Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Tetsuya by Tetsuya Wakuda Heart

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane

This cookbook sets out a selection of the recipes and cooking techniques used by Australia's iconic chef, Tetsuya Wakuda.
There is an underlying humility which is a mark of this very likeable man;
"At Kinsela's was where I realised I wanted to, and discovered that I could, cook. It was where I started learning classical French technique. I made up a lot of things along the way, and luckily for me, people liked the way it tasted."
The first recipe is for a consommé of tomato and tea created from fresh tomatoes and some sun-dried tomatoes that are infused in water over low heat and then left to infuse further with a small quantity of Ceylon tea.
The last recipe is for a orange ice-cream where he uses a litre of hot orange juice to create a custard with ten egg yolks. The mixture attains a smoothness from the addition of glucose, intensity from the addition of orange paste and further richness from the final addition of cream.
In between these there is a well-selected array of his key dishes - all of which translate nicely to the home kitchen. Dashi is used in a number of the recipes and it is worth experimenting with making this basic Japanese workhorse stock to get it right, because the better the dashi the better the dish.
There are a number of lovely cold soups including one of potato and leek which is poured over jellied eggplant. A carpaccio of snapper is served on thin discs of cucumber and then dressed with a vinaigrette built on Banyuls vinegar.
A deceptively simple, yet visually stunning dish is the tuna and hamachi chequerboard with orange oil. Squares of dark tuna form a chequerboard with lighter squares of himachi glinting with flakes of sea salt. In turn they sit in a pool of languid vinaigrette based on orange oil, ginger juice and grapeseed oil.
And eventually you come to his signature recipe for confit of Tasmanian ocean trout with fennel salad. The deep-pink flesh of the ocean trout is marinated in a mixture of grapeseed and olive oil along with a mixture of spices and herbs. The trout is then cooked slowly in an oven set to the lowest setting and with the door open to reduce the temperature even more. It is only cooked until it is lukewarm. To serve the cutlet is sprinkled with a mixture of chopped chives and konbu to form a deep green coating.
For a totally sensual dish try the linguine with a ragout of oriental mushrooms. The mushrooms are satueed in garlic and olive oil and then simmered in chicken stock, sake, mirin and soy sauce.
There are approximately one hundred and fifty recipes in this visually appealing book. Each one of them is interesting and each one immediately sets your mind racing as you consider other flavour combinations and other ways you can use the ideas. We see this book as being invaluable both for its content and as a springboard to a whole new way of dealing with ingredients.
Tetsuya's cookbook deserves a place in all food lover's libraries.
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