I have to preface this by saying - normally, I don't advocate purchasing specialty cookware. I know I mentioned the slow cooker in a previous post, but that's because it was on sale for $19.95 - that was more of a favor than a "you-gotta-have-one-of-these."
But this little fish griller from the Japanese market - I think of this as more of a kitchen necessity, source of many of my favorite dishes growing up. (they're called yaki ami)
My mom used to use this thing to grill fish, roast mochi, cook enoki mushrooms... all manner of yummy right on top of the stove. Also works great for roasting peppers, tomatos and veggies. I picked this one up at Sunrise Mart in the East Village, but I'm sure this or something just like it can be found in many Asian markets. It should run somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 25 dollars, some even have legs that will raise it up higher from the flame.
Older versions were a bit harder to keep clean and necessitated replacement on a fairly regular basis, (I think we had one early on that had an asbestos plate on the bottom...) but this version disassembles relatively easily (OK there are parts that maybe shouldn't have come off, but they did, and they snapped back on reasonably easily so I'm going with it.)
The first thing I cooked on this were a couple of massive shrimp (the one's above are parked on a full size dinner plate with a one inch border) I found at Grand Central Market, if cooking smaller versions, consider putting them on skewers which have been soaked in water. This is a great way to bring the taste of outdoor open flame cooking indoors (to your tiny NYC apartment).
Make sure your stove top is clean and free of grease - I realize this sounds obvious but worth mentioning as a grease fire could really put a damper on dinner.
- 2 - 3 massive shrimp/prawns - I found these Gulf of Mexico monsters at the Grand Central Market, each one was a good 8 inches from end to end, not including the antennae
- 1 dollop of Miso paste (roughly one tbsp per shrimp) type of miso is completely a matter of taste - I like aka miso (red miso) or awase miso (white and red combined) but really just a matter of taste.
- 1/4 cup of water
- Sesame oil
In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, with the water - adding the water in small measures until you get an emulsified paste similar in texture to hand lotion. Slightly lumpy hand lotion...
Dip the shrimp - shells and heads on - into the paste. It's important to leave the shells and head on or you'll find the shrimp become inedible due to the saltiness of the miso - I don't care HOW much you like salt, it's too salty. Coat thoroughly, sprinkle with sesame oil and set in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 min to marinate.
Dip a paper towel into sesame oil and lightly coat the grill top - be careful not to get oil on the pan closest to the flame, or you'll have smoked shrimp and not in a good way. Preheat grill over high for 3 to 4 min, then turn heat down to medium/ medium high.
Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator and place directly on to the grill - depending on the size of the shrimp, they should take about 2 to 4 min on each side. Don't be alarmed if the shells start to char, it only adds to the flavor. Try not to over cook then shrimp, as most varieties can get rubbery if over cooked.
Serve whole with mixed greens topped with carrot miso dressing (recipe coming soon)