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Asian-Inspired Cooking with Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence can regularly be seen on the Food Network, helping home cooks resolve kitchen emergencies on Food 911. Florence, who has been executive chef at New York's Cibo and Cafeteria, has become a familiar resource both on TV and on the page for cooks who appreciate his direct but sophisticated style. His latest cookbook, Eat This Book, is a collection of recipes inspired from his travels around the world.

Linda Wertheimer spends a day in New York City shopping and cooking with Florence in his Chinatown neighborhood. Below, get the recipes for what they prepared, both available in Eat This Book.

Steamed Black Bass in Miso Soup with Udon and Shiitakes

1 hour; serves 2

I always make more of this Japanese soup stock (dashi) than I need at a time; the extra will hold in the refrigerator for up to a week or you can freeze it for several months. If you have got the dashi, you have got an instant base for future soups and stews. You'll also need a wok and a bamboo steamer for this recipe.

3 (6-inch) pieces of dried kelp (kombu), wiped with a damp paper towel

11⁄2 cups dried bonito flakes

2 tablespoons light miso

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, and halved

2 (6-ounce) center-cut black sea bass fillets, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

1 handful of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

2 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

1 pound fresh udon noodles

2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

Several shakes of chile–sesame salt (see Note)

First make the Japanese soup stock, or dashi: In a 4-quart saucepan, combine 3 quarts of water, the kelp, and bonito flakes and place over medium-low heat. Allow the water to come slowly to a simmer. This should take about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat just as the stock reaches a boil. Let the stock sit for a minute or two and then strain out the solids. Pour 1 quart of the dashi into a wok; reserve the remaining 2 quarts for another use. Put the wok over medium heat. Whisk in the miso until smooth. Toss in the mushrooms and bring the stock to a simmer.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 12-inch bamboo steamer with nonstick cooking spray. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper and lay them side by side in the steamer, skin side up. Cut the ginger lengthwise in strips and arrange it on top of the fish so the flavor can permeate the flesh. Sprinkle the cilantro over everything. Nestle the bok choy halves in the steamer, side by side. Cover with the bamboo lid, set the steamer inside the wok over the simmering stock, and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked. Carefully lift out the bamboo steamer and throw the udon noodles and green onions into the simmering stock. Cook for about a minute, or until the noodles are tender.

To serve, ladle the miso soup into 2 wide shallow bowls, scoop the noodles into the soup, and lay the bok choy and fish on top of that. Garnish with more cilantro, sprinkle lightly with the chili–sesame salt, and serve.

Note: Chile–sesame salt is available at Asian grocers.

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings

45 minutes; makes 36 dumplings

1 (10-ounce) package round wonton wrappers

Canola oil, for brushing the steamer

Savoy cabbage, for lining the steamer (optional)

2 green onions, sliced, for garnish

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Dipping sauces (refer to Eat This Book)

Shrimp Filling:

3⁄4 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

1⁄2 pound ground pork

1 green onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon dry sherry

Pulse the filling ingredients in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed; I like my fillings to have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper.

Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand. Drop 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of the wrapper; dipping the spoon in cold water first will make the filling come off easier. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling and squeeze the sides slightly with your fingers. The sides will naturally pleat, leaving the filling slightly exposed. Tap the dumpling on the table so the bottom is flat and it stands upright. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. (You can freeze the leftover filling for 2 or 3 weeks.)

Lightly oil the bottom of a 10-inch bamboo steamer and line it with the whole cabbage leaves. Stand the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and don’t let them touch. You should be able to get 12 siu mai in the steamer at a time. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a wok. Set the bamboo steamer inside the wok, then cover it with the bamboo lid. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until the filling feels firm. Garnish with green onions and serve with one of the dipping sauces in Eat This Book.

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As NPR's senior national correspondent, Linda Wertheimer travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day's top news stories.