The Dish: Boston’s Tim Cushman

A native of Boston, Tim Cushman’s first training wasn’t in food, but in jazz and classical guitar at the city’s renowned Berklee College of Music. But while pursuing his musical dreams, he worked in restaurants and discovered a whole new passion. He spent the next three decades cooking around the world, including Japan, and it’s there that he found his culinary heart.

His O Ya in Boston has been recognized as one of the top sushi restaurants in the nation, earning him a James Beard Award as Best Chef in the Northeast. 

Since then he’s opened the Hojoko Japanese Tavern in Boston, and a branch of O Ya and the California cuisine-inspired Covina in New York. 

Here are some of Cushman’s signature recipes: 

Salmon tataki hand rolls

Ingredients

1 each nori squares 4″ x 4″ 

2 tbs. sushi rice 

¼ tsp  wasabi 

1 each salmon, sliced into 3″ x ½” 

2 tbsp ponzu 

2 each plum tomato, cut in to ½ moon slices, ¼” thick 

½ tsp smoked salt 

2 tsp onion aioli 

2 tsp green onions, sliced thin, rinsed and dried 

1 tsp leek, only the white part, sliced very thin, rinsed and dried 

2 tsp kaiware sprouts 

Directions

1. Marinate the salmon slice in the ponzu for 30 seconds. remove the salmon, place on a flameproof dish and torch using a blowtorch on only one side for 30 seconds.

2. Season the plum tomato slices with smoked salt. torch, using blowtorch, on one side only for 30 seconds.

3. Make hand roll: Place the nori square on a flat surface, and place sushi rice down the front-center of the nori piece. smear the wasabi evenly down the rice. place torched salmon on top, followed by the onion aioli.

4. Add torched tomato, green onion, leek and kaiware. Roll the hand roll into a cigar shape. Serve immediately. 

Spicy honey pizza 

Ingredients

1 10 oz ball of pizza dough 

¼ cup provolone bechamel sauce (see recipe below) 

¼ cup fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/2″ thick pieces 

¼ cup shredded mozzarella 

Fresh ground black pepper

Spicy honey

10 pieces sopressatta 

Directions

1. Stretch dough ball to 9-12 inch round shape on a floured surface. Spread provolone bechamel sauce evenly over the dough using a ladle or spoon, leaving 1″ around the edge for a crust. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the pizza, leaving 1″ around the edge for a crust. Add the sopressatta, evenly, all over the pizza.  

2. Place pizza stone/pizza steel/sheet tray into the oven, and preheat oven to the highest temperature, letting warm up for at least an hour before cooking. Transfer…

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