Mackerel cru. A broth of cherry blossom & cured plum
It only takes a few minutes talking with Joshua Skenes to realize he’s serious about his craft. At the brand-new fire pit he built outside Saison’s dining room, the chef dwells on a recent revelation. His methodical enthusiasm akin to an academic researcher that spends years on a single subject, in his case, ember and ash cooking. Skenes revelation is only six months old but his focus is razor sharp. Like at Assador Etxebarri, he is determined to bring out the deepest and subtlest of flavors from each of his ingredients; and achieve this by going back to basics.
In this dish, a dashi broth cooked on open fire meets a beautiful wild horse mackerel flown nonstop from Japan. Prepared in Saison’s pristine kitchen with the precision of a surgeon and all its accoutrements, the fish is neatly butchered in clean, swift strokes.
From the cutting board, the bones and skin are crisped in hot oil adding a nice textural balance to the raw fish. The broth is infused with cherry blossoms and salt-cured plum. Foraged herbs and flowers are carefully arranged. A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon and done. The final dish is simple yet unveils complex layering flavors that make worth all the R&D. It only takes one bite.