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.