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

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  • Yield: 6 appetizers or 2 to 3 entrees
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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


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


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


18 red endive spears

18 Nasturtium blossoms


  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Assembly: Slice alligator on the bias. Combine vegetables and alligator in a bowl. Add 1 cup of dressing. Toss well. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Arrange 3 Nasturtiums between each endive spear. Drizzle more dressing and sesame seeds on and around salad if desired.
  8. 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.