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An Interview with Roy Yamaguchi

Sally and Antonia interview Roy Yamaguchi, chef/owner of Roy's at the Inn at Spanish Bay, as well as other Roy's throughout the world. He is also the author of Roy's Feasts From Hawaii.

MP3 Interview MP3

Interview Time (25:04)

Check out these recipes while enjoying the interview...

Asian Pasta Primavera

This vegetarian pasta is another good example of my Euro-Asian style of cooking. Not only are the vegetables drawn from both sides of the world, but you can use linguine just as well as the Japanese ramen noodles.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame or peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons minced lemon grass
1/2 teaspoon minced kaffir lime leaves
2 cups julienned shiitake mushrooms
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely julienned
1/2 cup red bell peper, seeded and finely julienned
20 asparagus tips
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound fresh ramen noodles or linguine, cooked al dente
1/4 cup light soy sauce (preferably Yamasa brand)
Juice of 1 lemon


4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons Japanese plum paste
4 sprigs fresh basil
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 sheet nori, julienned (optional)

Heat the olive and sesame oils together in a large heavy sauté pan, and sauté the ginger, garlic, lemon grass, and lime leaves for 30 seconds over high heat, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, and asparagus, and sauté for about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Add the warm noodles or pasta to the vegetables in the pan. Toss well and season with soy sauce and lemon juice.

Serve on warm plates, and garnish with the goat cheese sprinkled around the noodles, a dollop of the plum paste on top, and a sprig of basil. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and nori, if desired.

Grilled Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa and Crispy Taro

Taro is a highly versatile root vegetable -- it can be roasted, boiled, steamed, ground into flour, or pounded to make poi. Here, I slice it into shoestrings and fry it. Commercial taro chips, with their nutty flavor, are a popular alternative to potato chips in Hawaii.

1 pound large taro, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch julienne
1 quart canola or vegetable oil
4 boneless half chicken breasts, with skin on
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch fresh chives, for garnish

Black Bean Mango Salsa:

1/2 cup dried black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon pure red chile powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced mango (or papaya, if you prefer)
1/2 cup diced watermelon

Put the beans in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 1 or 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir the beans occasionally and add more water if necessary. Strain and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and lightly brown the onion over medium-high heat. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, cumin, chile powder and cayenne, and sauté for 1 minute. Transfer to a stainless steel bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked beans and the remaining ingredients; toss well to combine. Chill and set aside.

Soak the taro in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Rinse well under running water, drain, and pat dry. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan. When the oil is hot, deep-fry the taro over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Prepare the grill. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and coat with the olive oil. Grill for about 5 minutes per side for medium doneness.

To serve, place about 3/4 cup of the Black Bean Mango Salsa in the center of each serving plate. Slice the chicken and stack the sliced on top of the salsa. Top with the taro fries and garnish with the chives.

Blackened Ahi with Soy-Mustard Sauce

It seems like a long time ago that Paul Prudhomme first captured national attention with his
blackened redfish down in New Orleans. Once I tasted this classic, I was inspired to create a Pacific version. This is the result, and it has become one of my signature dishes. The sandalwood contained in the blackening spice is optional, but gives a reddish color and intriguing flavor. We grind our own, but you can use Yogi Brand sandalwood, available by calling the company in New Orleans (504) 486-5538. If you prefer, you can use 1/4 cup of any Cajun spice blend instead of making up you own blackening spice.

Soy-Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup Colman's mustard powder
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce

Beurre Blanc

1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Blackening Spice

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 tablespoon pure red chile powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground sandalwood (optional)

1 ahi tuna fillet, about 2 inches thick and 5 inches long (about 8 ounces)


2 or 3 tablespoons red pickled ginger
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 ounce Japanese spice sprouts or sunflower sprouts (top 2 inches only)
1 tablespoon seeded and diced yellow bell pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon cucumber, cut into matchsticks (optional)

To prepare the Soy-Mustard Sauce, mix the mustard powder and hot water together to form a paste. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavor and heat to develop. Add the vinegar and soy sauce, mix together, and strain through a fine sieve. Chill in the refrigerator.

To prepare the Beurre Blanc, combine the wine, wine vinegar, lemon juice, and shallot in a
saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy. Add the cream, and reduce by half. Turn the heat to low and gradually add the butterk, stirring slowly (do not whisk) until it is all incorporated. Be careful not to let the mixture boil, or it will break and separate. Season with salt and pepper and strain through a fine sieve. Transfer to a double broiler and keep warm.

Mix all the blackening spices together on a plate, and dredge the ahi on all sides. Heat a lighly oiled cast-iron skillet and sear the ahi over high heat to the desired doneness (about 15 seconds per side for rare, to 1 minute per side for medium-rare). Cut into 16 thin slices.

For each serving, arrange 4 slices of the ahi in a pinwheel or cross shape on the plate. Ladle a little of the Soy-Mustard Sauce in tow opposing quadrants between the tuna, and ladle the Beurre Blanc in the other two quadrants. To garnish, put a small mound of the red pickled ginger on the Beurre Blanc on either side, and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the Soy-Mustard Sauce. Arrange the spice sprouts, bell pepper, and cucumber at the very center of this pinwheel.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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