Szechuan Alligator in a Crispy Noodle Nest with Lemon Ginger Dressing and Shiitakes

6 appetizers or 2 to 3 entrees
  • Lemon Ginger Dressing:
  • 2 ounces rice wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons grated gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 cup sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut oil
  • Szechuan alligator:
  • 8 ounces alligator tenderloin (about 4 small tenderloins)
  • 2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns, lightly toasted, crushed, and sifted through a strainer (discard the tough stems and seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Breading:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until frothy
  • Vegetables:
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, fine julienne
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large peeled carrot, fine julienne
  • 1 bunch green onion, fine julienne
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mint, chopped
  • 1 cup snow peas, fine julienne
  • 1 cup sliced, Sauteed shiitakes
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Crispy Noodle Nest:
  • 1 pound fresh angel hair pasta, uncooked
  • 2 quarts oil, for deep-frying
  • Garnishes:
  • 18 red endive spears
  • 18 Nasturtium blossoms
  • For the Lemon Ginger Dressing: Combine all above ingredients, except oils. Using an electric blender, add 1 cup sesame oil and 1 cup peanut oil, blending in batches until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

  • For the Szechuan alligator: Mix the above ingredients together. Rub alligator tenderloins with the mixture and let sit for 1 hour. For the Breading: Mix flour and cornstarch together. Combine bread crumbs, sesame seeds, salt, cayenne pepper and mustard. Dredge alligator in flour/cornstarch mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites. Coat in bread crumb mixture. Set aside.

  • Use 1 cup peanut oil for frying alligator. In a heavy duty saucepan with 4-inch sides or higher, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry alligator until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to add to salad.

  • For the Vegetables and the Crispy Noodle Nest: Split pasta into 6 equal parts. Form each into a bird?s nest that is about 5 inches in diameter. Put nests in freezer while heating oil to 325 degrees. Fry each nest directly out of freezer, using a ladle to keep the center hollow. Cook just until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels.

  • Assembly: Slice alligator on the bias. Combine vegetables and alligator in a bowl. Add 1 cup of dressing. Toss well.

  • Place a nest in the center of each plate. Arrange 3 endive spears, so that they are sticking out from each nest. Place a mound of salad in the center of nest.

  • Arrange 3 Nasturtiums between each endive spear. Drizzle more dressing and sesame seeds on and around salad if desired.

  • This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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