Andrew Zimmern: Bitter Melon with Duck Egg and Miso

Andrew Zimmern re-imagines basic stir-fry with duck eggs and bitter melon flavored with garlic, chiles and scallions.

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One of the big sort of buzz words over the last decade in the food world has been umami. Right. How many of you have heard that word. The flavor most associated with glutamates that are highly present in things like mushrooms and pickled foods. It's often called the fifth Taste, right? It's the one you can't describe, other than salty, sour, bitter, and sweet, right, is umami. Bitter is the least appreciated and understood flavor in America. But yet when people taste it and they taste little notions of it from around the world They kind of get intrigued by it. It's a really cool balancing act of a flavor. I'm gonna make a miso sauce that goes with our bitter melon dish. You can get a crunchy, hippie, granola miso, from the local co-op. I'm not anti crunchy, hippie Granola co-op stuff. I'm very pro that. I just think that the miso that comes from that world is not as good as beautiful Japanese miso at half the price from the local Asian market. I'm going to use a little bit of sake, a cup of miso, some soy. Some sugar. I make dashi at home, but dashi nomoto dried dashi is really an excellent, excellent substitute, and let this temper before I add my egg yolks. Here's a couple of eggs. And because I have my double boiler going, and because the eggs are gonna thicken this sauce, I throw them in last and now I'm gonna whisk those egg yolks. And we're gonna let that cook and come up to about 175-180 degrees. The eggs are gonna set because of all the fermented bean paste in there and all the protein from those beans It will not curdle. Even the sides might get a little scrambly but you can just whisk it all together, it will not break. How many people know what these are? Bitter melons, correct. My recommendation when you're buying bitter melon is to buy, look for melons that have as few wrinkles as possible. These are very wrinkly and pebbly ones. They're strong, they have a lot of bitterness to them. If you see a big seed pod just cut it out. If your a bitter melon first timer by all means blanche it in hot water. I'm going to get some scallions ready. And most importantly my Chinese black beans. They're salted and fermented. I like to rehydrate them in a little bit of rice wine, Because I'm gonna add rice wine to this dish anyway, and this pulls out some of that salty, fermented flavor. Duck egg yolks have more protein than chicken eggs. They have a slightly thicker shell. They have a bigger yolk to white ratio, and they have a much sweeter yolk flavor. I do not want to put scrambled eggs. Into this dish. I wanna glaze this dish with egg yolk. Our wok is been pre heating for a long time, some peanut oil. Smoke, smoke, smoke, chilis blackening, garlic blackening, shallots blackening Sugar caramelizing. [BLANK_AUDIO] Throw in our vegetables. I always like to kick that other stuff to the side of the pan, and I'm going to let that cook. You can already see this is so hot. I have toasted whole chilis that are red on one side and black on the other and what I'm really looking for here, [BLANK_AUDIO] Is for a little more scorch on my star ingredients. In goes, our Chinese black beans cuz these are scorched enough. The sake is evaporated. Little bit of cilantro. I don't wanna big clump of egg in there, so I'm just gonna dump it into the middle of this incredible stir-fry. Pull this to the side. You can't over-cook it. Miso sauce, salty and sweet in the bottom of this. This incredible stir fry in the middle, and I have five or six different salty sweet elements going on here. Maybe a little black sesame seed around there. I leave the chilis whole so no one eats one by accident. And we have this remarkable dish. [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO]
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Andrew Zimmern: Bitter Melon with Duck Egg and Miso