Lukshon

Lukshon

Dish - Sn 2/Ep 9Dish - Sn 2/Ep 9

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Sang Yoon, chef and owner of LA’s Lukshon, serves a unique twist on Hong Kong’s luxurious banquet cuisine that features delicate lobster paired with fresh pea tendrils and a buttery XO sauce.

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Transcript

- The Hong Kong style lobster is actually the very first whole lobster dish that we've ever served in this restaurant, and it's really a combination of those childhood influences, those childhood memories of visiting Hong Kong, my total maniacal obsession with XO sauce, and rounding it out with all that classic French training I've had. I'm Chef Sang Yoon, chef and owner of Lukshon Restaurant in Los Angeles, California. My travels to Hong Kong as a child left a pretty deep impression on me and that's really why I wanted to return. I specifically went to spend a lot of time exploring the depths of this XO sauce. The history of XO sauce is not that old, it only goes back to the 80s. It was allegedly invented at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong at a restaurant called Spring Moon, which I visited my most recent travels. The reason I really wanted to learn more about XO sauce was so that I could eventually change this idea, make it my own. Being sort of the subversive guy that I am, I feel like I have to tailor this thing to my own tastes. I've probably tried no fewer than 100 different variations on this sauce. My reason for choosing lobster was I really felt there was no better way to highlight XO sauce. The classic, luxurious pairing of these two ingredients had to come together. XO sauce, to most people, is a gigantic mystery. It's a seafood sauce that is made entirely of fish and shellfish, but almost tastes nothing like shellfish or fish. It's an umami bomb that literally will make anything taste better. The beginnings of XO sauce start with the actual dried seafood itself. The scallops, the shrimp, all those ingredients are steamed for 20 minutes to loosen, soften up, so they can be ground down even finer and to sort of kinda awaken the aromatics and to release a lot of the locked in flavor. We combine the dried shrimp and the scallops with Yunnan ham, and we combine everything in the Robot Coupe. We blend it until it's nicely shredded, and to that mixture we'll add dried chilis, chicken bullion powder, lemongrass, sesame oil, and peanut oil, and then we take the entire mixture, blend it all together 'til we have this dark, wet, mulchy looking product that we're gonna cook. We'll heat the wok, add our peanut oil, we're gonna add in our garlic, our ginger, our white sugar, our sweet soy, and our shallots. These ingredients are gonna add the moisture and the counterpoint to all the dry seafood. Add the entire contents of the Robot Coupe and bring it up to heat very gently. We want to gently caramelize all these ingredients. This is sort of where the alchemy of time and heat take over, and this is where the sauce is born. So, at the very end, we'll add ground white pepper and chili oil to add a touch of heat and a little extra peppery aromatic. Once everything is cooked, another very important step is to let this entire sauce cool down. This is an additional amount of time that more marrying of flavors needs to happen. Once the XO sauce has cooled, we can start our XO compound butter. We'll take some softened butter and fold in as much XO sauce as you like. Lobster and XO sauce together, very typical pairing of ingredients you'd see in what we call Hong Kong banquet cuisine. They go beautifully together. Because the lobster's do have to be killed we use a technique of anesthetizing them by using liquid nitrogen to put them in a very relaxed state. They're placed on perforated pans and steamed for five minutes. Once the lobsters are removed from the steam they are broken down into their parts while still hot. The tail is removed from the body and the tail is then split, using a knife, so that we can remove the tail meat. We remove the large head section from the small lobster legs and we're gonna remove the meat from the claws and the knuckles. We'll take all of the clean lobster meat, place everything into a bag along with a tablespoon of XO butter. We'll seal the bag and it'll be reserved for final poaching. One of the best pairings with lobster is pea tendrils. We wilt them very gently and I think they go really perfectly with the XO sauce. Pea tendrils are the leaves from the snow pea plants. We're going to heat peanut oil in a wok until nearly smoking, then we'll add chopped ginger and garlic to the oil to release all of the aromatics, and then we're gonna give it a light toss in the wok. To the hot oil we'll add our young, tender pea tendrils, allow it to wilt very gently, and kind of let the garlic and ginger kind of do its work and come together. Add a splash of Shaoxing wine. Shaoxing wine is a barrel aged Chinese rice wine. Very commonly used in cooking, tastes a little bit like sherry. We'll finish the pea tendrils with just some kosher salt and ground white pepper, and we'll set this aside getting ready to plate. The plating of this dish is really about highlighting the lobster, letting it be in all its glory, expressing this sense of Hong Kong luxury. We serve the head, the tail, the shell makes a beautiful presentation. The final step in the lobster cooking is to cook the entire bag of lobster along with the XO butter in a controlled water bath for 10 minutes. This allows the butter to melt and flavor the lobster as well as bring the lobster up to its final serving temperature. While the lobster's cooking in the water bath, we're going to deep fry the lobster shells to really give 'em a bright shine. Once the lobster's finished in the water bath we'll remove the lobster and remove all the extra moisture. Then, we'll take some of our lobster stock, place it into a sauté pan, and allow it to reduce for just a few minutes. No classic wine reduction sauce is finished until it's mounted with butter, which we'll add a good amount of butter at the end with a little extra chili oil and a little bit of Chinese black rice vinegar just for a little bit of balance and acidity. With all of our finished components we will start to plate. We'll take the wilted pea tendrils and mound them in the center of the plate. To our mounded pea tendrils we'll add our lobster head so they can stand up straight. Then, we'll take the lobster tail meat and cut the tail into four equal pieces. Place the lobster tail sections back into the shell that's already been fried. Arrange this finished tail on the plate right behind the lobster head, and then we'll place down our lobster knuckle and claw meat. And we're gonna take our buttered out mounted lobster sauce, it should be beautiful and glossy, and we're gonna spoon it all over the lobster meat. This is really adding the lobster XO flavor back into the lobster itself. We're gonna place our raw pieces of pea tendril for some crispness. Some julienne scallion and cilantro leaves add a nice herbaceous note. And that brings together our Hong Kong style lobster with XO butter. The way the lobster's prepared, the meat should be extremely tender and supple and the sweetness should really come through. The XO sauce should really exude a depth of lobster flavor along with a sort of magical deepening effect of all the dry seafood. The wilted pea tendrils are gonna add a lovely beautiful texture, and just that last minute basting you do with butter? What's better than lobster in drawn butter? This dish really expresses the idea of Hong Kong really really well. The luxury aspect, the tradition of XO sauce, the really deep use of dry seafood, it captures a big reason for why I cook. It's about taking personal memories and translating it through ingredients, and it's an artistic expression. The Hong Kong style lobster really reminds me of my many many trips to Hong Kong and the importance of why visiting other places is so important, and I really wanted to share all of those travels and experiences with my guests at Lukshon.

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