Interview with Chef Craig Deihl of Cypress in Charleston, South Carolina and a recipe for Crisp Wasabi Tuna

The addition of the Charcuterie program has really taken much of his time. He and his staff are able to take a whole animal and break it down using every part of the animal. After the meats and sausages are prepared, they will make stocks and sauces using the leftover parts and make pork rinds for bar snacks or garnishes from the pig skins. He says that they are on the forefront of the way it was done years ago and he uses everything but the squeal. (I’m betting that’s in there somewhere, too!)

Deihl says that you cannot rush the process in Charcuterie making. If it doesn’t taste good enough, let it sit longer. He never uses spices to cover up good meat, but will certainly add a few of those flavors that he is known for, depending on what he is trying to achieve. He loves unusual tastes in the Charcuterie and just as his other dishes, he wants a “symphony to go off in your mouth” when you taste the flavor combination.

I am still recovering from all of the amazing Charcuterie!

When asked about the James Beard nomination, Chef Deihl said it was a great honor and a very special nomination for him since he was the only first time nominee in the finals in the Southeast this year. Yes, he wanted to win, but he said there is a fear of losing and winning. As we have heard from other nominees, it raises the bar and now you need to reach yet another level and that those bars will continue to be raised again and again. All eyes are on you and the expectations are higher than ever.

He also said that with this new publicity, you need to do more interviews and be out in the spotlight more. All of these appearances and special events take away time spent in the kitchen and that is why the culinary team is so important.

I am sure that Chef Deihl will experience this struggle with balancing his time more and more. He and Cypress are definitely on everyone’s radar screen now, more than ever. He recently prepared a special dinner for the James Beard Foundation in New York, where his creative talents shined.

Chef Deihl is also the author of Cypress: A Lowcountry Grille.  This cookbook truly highlights the flavors and and combinations that he creates that work so well together. He suggested that I make one of the most requested dishes at Cypress, Crisp Wasabi Tuna. This dish truly exemplifies that “symphony of flavors in the mouth”. With several different sauces and this amazing combination of hot, sour, sweet, salty and the “unami bomb”, this is one of the most incredible dishes I have ever tasted.

Start with a beautiful piece of sushi grade tuna and wrap it in phyllo with wasabi paste.

This cookbook allowed me to recreate the flavors at home that are one of the reasons that we go out to dinner.  We enjoy these dishes that truly have a “wow” in every bite and it was created by using several different sauces and layering the flavors.  I would highly recommend this cookbook if you enjoy more complex flavors and beautifully prepared food.

Saute the tuna in the phyllo dough so that it is still rare.

The recipe may seem complicated, but if you prepare the sauces ahead of time and do it in small steps, you will find that they dish is very manageable.

Saute the shiitake mushrooms with the edamame.

Plate the tuna with the sauteed vegetables and sauces.

It’s soo good, you won’t need to dine out again…except at Cypress!

Thank you so much to Chef Deihl for his graciousness, lots of amazing Charcuterie (I even ate head cheese!) and a great evening visit with a few glasses of Maker’s 46! We really enjoyed getting to know him during our visits to Cypress.

Chef Deihl likes Maker’s 46 too!

 

Crisp Wasabi Tuna

This dish is the most requested item on the Cypress menu. It’s incredibly flavorful and hits tastes buds with just the right notes of hot, sour, salty and sweet. When shopping for the fish, ask your fishmonger to cut the tuna in long, block-shaped pieces to help with the assembly for cooking.

Ingredients:

For Tuna:
5 sheets phyllo
1/4 cup clairifed butter
4 tablespoons wasabi powder
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 (6-ounce) pieces sashimi tuna, cut into rectangles
1/4 cup peanut oil or canola oil (I used peanut oil)

For Chili Garlic Glaze:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 tablespoon sambal oelek
1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 tablespoon chopped mint
1/2 tablespoon chopped basil

For Edamame and Baby Shiitake Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup baby shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup edamame
1/4 cup Chili Soy (recipe below)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 tablespoons cold butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For Chili Soy Sauce:
1/2 cup Citrus Soy
1/2 cup Chili Glaze

For Citrus Soy:
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sambal
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons diced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice

For Chili Glaze:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons sambal
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Directions:

For Tuna:
1. Lay first phyllo sheet out lengthwise on a flat work surface and brush lightly with the butter. Lay second sheet on top of first sheet of phyllo and brush with the butter. Repeat this process with the remaining 3 sheets.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine wasabi powder and pineapple juice to make a smooth paste.
3. Add the wasabi paste to the bottom half of the phyllo sheets. Make sure the paste is an even thickness.
4. Place the blocks of tuna on op of the wasabi paste. Cut the phyllo the same width as the tuna pieces.
5. Roll the tuna, wasabi, and phyllo up. Make sure the wasabi only covers the tuna on the first revolution. (You don’t want it to look like a jellyroll.)
6. Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add oil.
7. Add the wrapped tuna pieces to the saute pan and sear for one minute on each side. All sides should be golden brown and should appear to be cooked the same when looking at the ends of the pieces.
8. Transfer to a cutting board and slice each piece in thirds.
9. On four serving plates, place equal amounts of edamame and shiitake mushrooms. Place 3 slices of tuna on top. Finish with 2 tablespoons of Chili Garlic Glaze per plate.

For the Chili Garlic Glaze:
1. In a saucepan combine rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Place over medium-high heat and reduce by one-fourth. Mixture should have a syrup-like consistency.
2. Remove from heat and add garlic, ginger and sambal. Incorporate evenly and allow mixture to cool completely.
3. Add cilantro, mint and basil to cooked mixture. Adding herbs to mixture when hot will cause herbs to turn brown.
4. Place in a container and keep refrigerated.

For the Edamame and Baby Shiitakes:
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Saute the shiitake mushrooms for about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the edamame and Chili Soy Sauce. Saute for another minute; the Chili Soy Sauce should be syrupy.
3. Remove from heat and finish slowly stirring in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For Chili Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and incorporate evenly. This sauce can be kept at room temperature for about a week.

For Citrus Soy:
1. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan and reduce over medium heat by half.
2. When reduced, strain and cool. They soy can be made a day or two ahead of time; be sure to keep it cold.

For Chili Soy Sauce:
1. Combine ingredients evenly.
2. Keep refrigerated.

Executive Chef Craig Deihl
Cypress – Charleston, South Carolina
Reprinted from Cypress: A Lowcountry Grille

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