Over all, my dinner last night went very well! I'll be posting about in a few days, but I had three different 'guess the ingredient' questions, and everyone proved to be very discerning! I had 5 people guess two of the three questions correctly!!! I'll report more about it on a non-Paper Chef entry post...
Yes, that's right! It's Paper Chef time and I am taking a little break from my Japan trip report to post my Paper Chef entry!!! Our ingredients this month were strawberries, ricotta cheese, white chocolate, and almond paste. I substituted almond flour/powder for the almond paste. I didn't have any almond paste and didn't want to spend any more money this month on extra food expenses. Since none of the ingredients except for the strawberries are things I would usually purchase, the white chocolate and ricotta cheese was all I was willing to add to my kitchen clutter.
With these ingredients, I made Oven-baked Strawberry Katsu. Katsu is the Japanified word for 'cutlet', and tonkatsu is one of the most popular representatives of the Katsu world. Katsu is usually made by sequentially coating various meats (pork in the case of tonkatsu) with potato starch, eggs, and the Japanese bread crumbs, panko, to produce a crunchy, firm crumb cover. I always thought this would make a great hearty dessert crust, so I decided to try making dessert katsu today. I think the purist Japanese would consider this somewhat disturbing, but I think the adventure paid off nicely for this one!
I made the Katsu with the ricotta, strawberries, and almond flour, and topped it with a katsu sauce made with white chocolate grenache. I oven-fried/baked it, since my attempts at deep frying were utterly unsuccessful. But in the oven, the patties took on a wonderful crunchy panko crust and became surprisingly katsu-like. The patties had a fragrant strawberry scent and satisfying fullness without being overly rich or greasy, thanks to the fat-free ricotta. The additional whipping cream in the patty provided binding for the ricotta and the strawberries, in addition to providing perfect smoothness. I accented the sweetness of the strawberries with a hint of brown sugar, but as in tonkatsu, the katsu sauce on top really brought the dish to life. The creaminess and the sweetness of the sauce highlighted all the strengths of the katsu itself. For a spontaneous creation, this was a successful attempt at a 'strawberry katsu' and strikingly appropriate to be called a 'strawberry katsu'!
All measurements are approximate this time...
4 oz strawberries (pureed)
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 tbs brown sugar
3/4 cup almond flour (almond powder)
soy bean oil spray
3 oz white chocolate
3 tbs whipping cream
I first made the patty by grinding up (puree-ing) a handful of strawberries (4 oz?) in my mortar and pestle, since I don't have a food processor. I added the whipping cream and ricotta cheese to the strawberries, followed by enough almond powder for the mixture to be at a consistency to make patties. I took about a tbs of the mixture and made them into patties. The patties were coated with a generous portion of panko, sprayed lightly with oil, and baked in the oven at ~375F for 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
The katsu sauce was made by microwaving the white chocolate until melted. Enough whipping cream was added until the sauce took on the same consistency as tonkatsu sauce.
Top katsu with sauce and serve hot!