Jan 18, 2011

My First Miso

Can you believe I've never cooked with miso? In the recent Bon Appetit there's an article about it, which includes a recipe for apple cobbler with miso in the biscuit topping!

So a couple days ago I found myself picking up some white miso, the mildest kind, just to taste it and sense what it wanted me to do with it. To just back up for a minute, miso is a fermented soybean paste from Japan. It's injected with a mold from either rice, barley, or soybeans, and then aged. The white miso does reminds me of cheese, which makes sense.

I didn't have the right apples for cobbler, but I did have several turnips on hand, so I made a dish from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. It's called "Braised and Glazed Turnips with Miso." I braised peeled, cubed turnips in white wine and butter, and when they were almost done, added a half-and-half mixture of white miso and water. I thought the miso tempered that turnipy bitterness and gave the dish a satisfying level of complexity. My older son's pithy review of the dish was, "It makes me want to gag." My younger son didn't even bother to taste it. I guess for the boys, turnips are too deeply disgusting to be garnished, sauced, or even disguised. Not to be deterred, I'll no doubt I'll offer them more turnips in a couple of weeks.

Why is it that some of us constantly search for ways to add complexity to a food's flavor, while others want to leave well enough alone? All I know is that when I get some decent cooking apples, I'm making that cobbler.


MemeGRL said...

My current favorite use of miso is on baked sweet potatoes, with butter and snipped scallions if you have them. Heaven in winter. Did you use the fancy miso? I found "Minute Miso" somewhere local (which I loved, and was cheap) and can't remember where...

Lauren D. McKinney said...

That sounds delicious, MemeGRL! I just got what they had at the Co-op, "Miso Master."