Palmar Wraps Up the Miami Melting Pot in a Rabbit Egg Roll
At Palmar, a compact new 34-seat restaurant in Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood, chef Raymond Li Jr. serves modern Chinese cuisine infused with a tropical, South Florida vibe. Here, the Cuban-Chinese-Colombian-American chef reveals how he wraps the Miami melting pot into an updated take on a Chinese classic to create his rabbit egg roll.
As an homage to Le Cordon Bleu, where Li trained, the chef swaps out the traditional pork filling for rabbit, which he braises for two hours in Shaoxing wine, red wine, tamari soy sauce, ginger, scallions, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and koji. Li then minces the rabbit and adds a touch of soy and sesame oil. “Rabbit is a very lean meat,” he says, “and that helps it stay succulent.”
Cabbage appears in two forms: fermented, which adds a salty, tangy note, and wok-charred with garlic, for a savory, smoky bite. “We char it really quickly so it has that garlicky, pungent essence and maintains its crunchy characteristics,” the chef says. Li bolsters the filling with pickled ginger, bean sprouts, and a Japanese shiso leaf for a layer of freshness.
The fillings are carefully rolled up in a classic egg roll wrapper, which is then dipped in cornstarch to help preserve its shape before finally being deep-fried.
Li presents the halved egg roll standing atop an electric-yellow coulis of aji amarillo peppers, oyster sauce, garlic, yuzu, and local orange blossom honey. “I love the flavor of aji amarillo charred on the wok,” Li says. “The spice! The sweetness!”
The Finishing Touch
The final kiss is a drop or two of grapeseed oil that has been infused with Chinese five-spice (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, and coriander seed), garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, bird’s-eye chilis, and crushed coriander. “It’s not too much heat,” Li says, “but it adds a lot of body.”