Off the Menu
Editor’s note: “Off the Menu” is a new series dedicated to spin-off and companion stories to Life & Thyme Issue Two. Today’s recipe comes from the esteemed Chef Joachim Splichal of Patina in Los Angeles.
— Order Issue Two
In Issue Two of Life & Thyme, we sat down with five esteemed chefs and entrepreneurs for a portrait series that explored pivotal points in their culinary career. Among them was Chef Joachim Splichal, founder of the much celebrated Patina Restaurant Group, culinary master, and a pioneer of Los Angeles’ dining scene. Today, Patina Restaurant Group sits on over forty restaurant concepts that span across the United States upholding his culinary vision.
“I grew up in a restaurant and auberge in Germany,” Joachim reminisces while sipping an espresso. “To make some money, my father incentivized me by saying that I’d get a nickel if I did certain things in the kitchen or in the restaurant. Once in a while, I would end up in the kitchen when those big banquets happened, and I was the guy who moved the plates from A, to B, to C. So that was my first encounter with the restaurant business.”
Joachim later went on to work in several kitchens around the globe, including Canada, Sweden, Israel, Switzerland, and then France, where he was recruited by Chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco. “Six months later, I became his sous chef. I was most likely the youngest kid in France who had the possibility of becoming a sous chef.”
And from that point forward, Joachim’s path cemented itself on an upward trajectory that would later influence many future chefs spawned from his restaurants and the city of Los Angeles.
Tuna with Soya Onions, Avocado and Yuzu Granité
Serves 10 guests
- 10 Roma Tomatoes
- 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 1 branch thyme, 2 cloves unpeeled garlic
- 3 ½ pounds bigeye tuna
- 10 green onions
- 2 avocados with lemon juice
- Green from 2 green onions, bias sliced thinly
- 1 ounce yuzu powder,
- 1 ounce micro cilantro
- 1 ounce micro amaranth
- 1 ounce fleur de sel
For the Soya Onions:
- 4 red onions
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp ginger, finely grated
- 1 cup chicken stock
For the Ponzu Vinaigrette:
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ oz ginger, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole shallot, minced
For the Granité:
- 1 cup salted yuzu juice
- 2 cups unsalted yuzu juice
- ½ cup simple syrup
- ½ tsp yuzu powder
- Peel and seed the tomatoes, quarter them, and place in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add thyme and garlic clove, and bake slowly at 200 degrees until semi-dried, about 3 hours, turning once halfway through the process.
- Grill green onions until tender.
- Peel red onions, and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes and rinse well. Add to small pot along with soy sauce, chicken stock, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until onions are cooked 5/6 of the way––just a few minutes. The onions should have a slight crunch.
- For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate 4 hours, strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- For the yuzu granité, prepare a simple syrup by bringing equal parts water and sugar to a boil and then strain. Let cool.
- Mix ½ cup of the simple syrup with the yuzu juice and powder. Place in a shallow pan and freeze, whisking several times during the freezing process. Once frozen, scrape the granité with a fork.
- To finish, cut the tuna into 20 1/4 inch slices. On a sheet pan, lay 10 slices of tuna. Top with soya onions, a layer of sliced avocado, a layer of semi-dried tomato, and then another slice of tuna. Sprinkle only a few grains of fleur de sel on top. Place onto chilled plates, and drizzle with ponzu vinaigrette and a light drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with a grilled onion, sliced green onions, micro cilantro and amaranth, and then spoon granité over the top.
- Garnish the plate with a sprinkle of yuzu powder and serve.
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