About a week ago the Melbourne Age ran an article about a Melbourne restauranteur who stepped on some toes by recreating other several great chef's most popular and striking dishes in his own restaurant, right down to the presentation, and passing them off as his own unique creations. This unleashed a volley of fire from critics and an equally vociferous response from supporters. The cheffing (is too a word) community appears to have come to the conclusion that, up to as point, recreating someone elses' dish is a form of flattery, but that at some point it becomes fraud. Perhaps the truth lies somwhere in the middle, as it does with most things. And while we need to be sure we do the right thing by others in crediting their ideas, we also need not to take ourselves too bloody seriously.... I mean, a burger, even an avantguard art-burger, is not exactly the same thing as Notes From Underground or The Garden of Earthly Delights and honestly, if you ever think you've created an unusual or original meal or dish, I'm guessing some one else, somewhere else has already come up with something that probably is very similar. Maybe spookily similar. As one of my favourite chefs, Greg Malouf, has said, any chef would "be lucky to have made two completely original dishes in [their] life." I reckon Greg's made a fair lot of dishes.
The topic of recipe crediting and recipe ripoff is a constant topic of debate amongst food bloggers. The medium makes it so easy for a person's ideas and writing to be appropriated and the anonymity of the web makes it easy for the perptrators to get away with it.
So, because it is a perpetual hot blogging topic and, because I'm essentially a nosy person who can't resist a good sticky beak, I visited the website of the rogue restaurant and persused their menu - suspicously sans photos! Some items sounded pretty good and I decided that the pairing of pistachio and beef sounded particularly nice. Worth a go anyway. I hunted around online for a while and found a recipe that had part of the idea I was after - pistachio crust - although the wrong meat (what I had on hand was elk) and a several ingredients that I don't particularly care for, so I did my best, and, honestly, it was pretty bloody good.
The crust is gorgeous and sweet and salty and because I pre-browned the roast in a frying pan at super high heat I still got the benefit of the nice brown caramelised outside, despite the thick crust. I absolutely adore pistachios and they did look really nice agansit the rare elk roast. The wasabi mashed potatoes were the perfect side dish for this essentially asian themed dish.
Pistachio-crusted elk roast with wasabi mash
- 2-4 pound elk (or beef) roast
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce
- 1 disc palm sugar (or about 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 cup unsalted white rice wine
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (or 2 small red chilis minced)
- 2 cups crushed pistachios
Combine all ingredients except pistachios in a large ziploc bag. You might need to melt the palm sugar first by melting into some of the liquid ingredients, which have been warmed.
Marinate for 1 to 6 hours.
Remove roast from marinade. Reserve marinade and pat roast dry. Sear roast on all sides in a lightly oiled frying pan.
Preheat oven to 450F.
Boil marinade in a medium sized pot over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce until it forms a sauce about the consistency of pancake syrup.
Brush roast liberally with about half the sauce and press handfuls of pistachios onto the roast surface. It may help of you just dump the nuts in the bottom of a large shallow dish, pop the roast in and use you hands to press the nuts to the surface of the meat.
Transfer roast to a roasting pan with a metal rack.
Pop the rast into the oven. After 20 minutes reduce the heat to 400F
Roast until the centre reaches 120F to 140F for a rare to medium rare roast. For a 2 pound roast this should take about 30-35 minutes total cooking time.
For the wasabi mash: Boil 1.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes. Mash well with 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1.5 teaspoons wasabi powder and salt to your liking.
Serve the meat and potatoes with a little of the extra sauce drizzled over.