Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chef, Jarrod McGregor from Rothko in Matakana, likes to work with just a few flavours on the plate and says lamb is the perfect vehicle to take on the international flavours that inspire him. His current menu dish was inspired by a Japanese staff member who taught Jarrod the technique of making Umeboshi – fermented Ume fruit. With the punchy flavour of the Umeboshi cutting through the richness of the lamb and the velvety smooth cauliflower purée with its caramelised flavours, this dish is a flavour match made in heaven!
Ume are a Japanese green plum that have a distinct sour flavour. He sources the Ume fruit from Yamasoto Farm in Canterbury and pickles the fruit to make Umeboshi. During this process nothing is wasted and Jarrod keeps all by products to use in various ways in his kitchen including Ume infused miso, Umeboshi Vinegar and the whole fruit itself.
Once Jarrod has his Ume products, he uses them in all components of his lamb dish. The miso and Ume fruit are added into the cauliflower purée and the vinegar is used as a base for a dressing on the dish.
Cooking tip: Jarrod’s steps for making Umeboshi are:
ensure the fruit is clean and the brown spot where the stem was, is removed by using a toothpick to get it out.
place the fruit in a vac pack covered in rock salt and leave in the fridge for about a month.
remove the fruit, which will be a little softer now from the vac pack, and reserve the vinegar to use as added flavour in dressings and butters.
the next step requires air drying the fruit out in the sun and wind for four consecutive days. Jarrod uses an air basket which he sterilises by spraying it with vodka. At the end of each day he brings the basket in and hangs in the kitchen overnight.
the fruit will begin to start looking a little bit withered after the four days and then he stores the fruit in a snap lock container back in the fridge for at least six weeks – the longer it is left the more concentrated the flavour of the Ume becomes.
the Ume can remain in the fridge for many months to be used as needed. Jarrod normally orders around 20-30kg of fruit just before Christmas which can last him for up to a year.
to make the miso, Jarrod uses about 25% of the fruit, picks out where the stem has been and then sits it in a container of red miso in the fridge for about three months. He then removes the fruit and uses this to make dressings to use on his dishes. The miso takes on the fruitiness of the Ume fruit and is then used to add a umami flavour to his various dishes.