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Symmetry by way of chemistry.

"Would you like soup or salad with that?"

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IMAGINE BEING ASKED THIS MID-AMERICA QUESTION IN JAPAN? Choose either or and odds are miso will be in the mix. Perhaps if not in the form of dressing, then served in a diminutive cup--of miso soup. It's nourishing. Calming. Humbling. Sure, we may be complacently familiar with this, the quintessential miso dish, but we might not be as educated with the "what's" and "why's" of the seemingly simple paste that goes into much more than soups, stews or glazes. For centuries, Asian cultures--most notably the Japanese, via the Korean Peninsula and China--have embraced miso as a steady source of symmetry. And no wonder, this ancient amalgam is enriched with vitamins and minerals. In fact, miso is a great source of complex carbohydrates, protein, essential oils and minerals. Sounds like the text found on the front of the morning cereal box, doesn't it? Well, maybe R & D at General Mills or Post ought to take the hint. Don't be surprised if you see Miso Frosted Flakes showing up in the next century.

Fermented soy paste: Alone, the seduction properties of this are dreary. But, according to Japanese mythology, miso is "a gift to mankind from the Gods to assure lasting health, longevity and happiness."

Traditional miso is made by fermenting the natural enzyme, koji (a yeast) with cooked, crushed soybeans (or in many cases, rice, barley or wheat), salt and water. It's then transferred to (ideally) six-ton cedar vats where the miso ages and the bacteria grows for a two or three year period. Today, most miso is fermented in stainless steel vessels for a shorter amount of time. But not all miso. The oldest and most respected family for, what is considered miso "artistry," is Hatcho of Okazaki, Japan. Their centuries-old schemas (like aging their miso in 200-year old cedar vats) shun the more modern, hasty, temperature-controlled methods (thought of as one-dimensional). The Hatcho company prefers to work with the rugged elements, like natural weather conditions that determine the temperature of the fermentation room. With the addition of some simple equipment, they consider their product to be hand-crafted--much like that of a boutique winery. If you're thinking the process of miso-making peculiarly parallels wine-making, you're getting it. But the process is only part of it. The appreciation and prestige rivals.

Shoguns and emperors, as well as the people of Japan, have long revered Hatcho miso. Unlike other misos, it is made solely from whole soybeans and a minimum amount of water, giving it a higher protein content. At the Hatcho company, the miso ferments and the live cultures grow under the pressure of three-ton river rocks, said to be so artfully arranged there's no chance of collapse, earthquakes and all. The very best miso comes from the center of the cask and customarily was presented to the emperor of Japan. Among royalty, miso was sometimes referred to as "hiurashi" translating to "a clear-toned summer cicada" (an insect) whose song is said to penetrate even the hardest stone. Likewise, the rich fragrance and fine flavor of miso were known to penetrate and season other foods. It still does today (and not just among royalty).

a salty disposition

Sea salt acts as a natural preservative, slowing down the fermentation process and providing time for the yeast and bacteria to do their work. For this reason, miso is about eight to fourteen percent salt, but most of miso's intensity comes from the fermentation, not the salt--a misconception to most. A tablespoon of miso contains 680 milligrams of sodium compared to a tablespoon of table salt weighing in at a hefty 6,589 milligrams of sodium.

The color of miso determines how long the product's been aged, as well as its salt content. The ivory and pale yellow tones (like an early morning moonrise) are indicative of a miso that has only been aged a few months. Generally, these misos have a higher percentage of rice or other grains and are considered sweet because of their mild flavor. These are the ones used in miso soup.

The warmer the color--the reds or browns (shades of an Indian summer to midnight black) suggest a miso that is more robust and earthy, with complex flavors that are nothing short of sharp and slightly tart to the tongue.

A few miso names to remember: Highly-prized hatcho is made strictly from soybeans and salt. Mugi does a body good (made with soybeans and barley). Try Genmai (soybeans and brown rice) or Kome (a combo of soybeans and white rice). And don't negate Natto (soybeans and ginger). Keep in mind, these are just a few varieties.

a saline solution

After studying the use of miso as a preventive medicine, Dr. Sinchiro Akizuki of Nagasaki, Japan, demonstrated that miso plays a part in protecting against the deadly effects of radiation. In 1972, this was confirmed when it was discovered that miso contains something called dipicolonic acid, which attaches to heavy metals, freeing them from the body. However, the most convincing evidence demonstrating the protection miso offers to those exposed to radiation was published in Japan in 1989. Professor Akihiro Ito, at Hiroshima University's Atomic Radioactivity Medical Lab, reports of European countries importing truckloads of miso after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It has also been reported by Japan's National Cancer Center that those in Japan who ate miso daily, showed lower rates of cancer (including stomach, breast and liver) as well as heart disease. Miso is known to aid in digestion and strengthen the blood. Without suggesting miso is solely responsible, perhaps it does have something to do with the longevity of the Japanese?

Could the solution to some of our most complex health "whodunits" be so simple? Miso thinks so.

A 14-year old wonders how to save enough money to buy a snowboard. So he takes a job in a kitchen and discovers there's more to life than just boards, bases and bevels.

"That's what's so wonderful about cooking. You're never done learning." The youthful chef says it with conviction. His energy plays a starring role in his ascent to chef at NYC's new West Village restaurant, Sumile. Take Josh's age, combine it with his attitude, add his interests and experience, and one gets just the right mix for a venture backed by Miwa Yoshida, singer of Japanese pop act, 'Dreams Come True'. This namesake is faithful to Josh's worldview.

"I began to enjoy all the beautiful things related to cooking--like fresh olive oil and seafood." As DeChellis's interests grew, he took them to the CIA, then studied with Swede, Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit. "Working with Marcus reinforced the idea that the beautiful thing about cooking is that every country--no matter the size--has something to offer."

It was at New Jersey's Frenchtown Inn where Josh had, what he calls, his "epiphany." "I was literally living above the restaurant working 17-18 hour days, for a year and a half. But, what I really remember was the kitchen window--it let in an amazing stream of light. One summer day, around 4:30pm, the sun hit directly on my cutting board. I think I was making a terrine--it looked like Jesus was shining his light on my creation and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen."

Talkin' about those revelations ...

Where else to go with an epiphany but to the left coast and San Francisco, where Josh says, "there's a totally different style." In San Francisco, Josh worked with Wolfgang Puck at Postrio, but was taken with the many Asian cultures represented in the Bay Area. "The large Asian influence engulfed me. But Japanese, in particular, caught my eye. My hobby is to find the Japanese influence in any cuisine."

Puck suggested DeChellis go straight to the source to become further familiar with French technique. "They were super cutting edge, at the top of their game," he says of L'Arpege's Alain Passard and Lucas Carton's Alain Senderens. And what did he think two three-Michelin star restaurants later?

"To this day I think about my time in the kitchen there. What discipline and respect for their craft! You need that to survive in this business. The minute you get lazy, or lose focus, it shows on every plate. I came home with a deep appreciation for the French culinary tradition."

Back in the U.S., Josh worked the opening of Union Pacific. DeChellis calls Rocco, "A very inspiring human being."

But, it was Japan that intrigued Josh. "I went to Tokyo--worked at Sankichi-Ya. I found such comfort working in a Japanese kitchen. There, every shallot was handpicked--literally. The Japanese are so meticulous, so precise. I wasn't prepared for that. I also wasn't prepared for the generous hospitality. They have the joie de vie thing happening."

Between Tokyo and Kyoto, Josh's sensibilities streamlined to the small, simple, pure and clean aesthetics that are all things Japanese. "It's what I want to get across at my own restaurant." Fine dining, deconstructed.

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Essentially, Josh says that everything is about balance, from managing a staff to making a sauce. "If you aren't well-balanced people sense that and it becomes tricky for them to follow your lead. The guys in the kitchen don't want to be around an angry old man all day!"

"When I build a sauce, I begin with bones and water, mirepoix, wine for additives, then I mix in what Marcus taught me and what I learned in France--but that last layer of aromatics is where the Japanese extension enters--fresh, light and final."

Now with his own restaurant to showcase his "tiny violets" or sumile, Josh shares his dream. "What would make me happy is for my customers to think of Sumile when they are in the mood for toro, maybe some golden osetra or a glass of champagne."

Josh's own tour of beauty and harmony.

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"I was the Executive Chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C. for 11 years. "That chunk of time made up three terms and three administrations--the Reagan, Bush and Clinton occupancies. "So, of course, they'd come in every other week, you know. Mrs. Reagan was in for lunch a lot." The former first lady was so fond of Hide's chicken salad, he named it after her. Today it's still on the menu at the Ritz-Carlton.

"The Secret Service didn't come in the kitchen too much ... just once in awhile when there was a large function. The guy would come in, grab one plate, and then--(he mimics magic)--Poof, he's gone!" So we enjoyed it--it was pretty stressful."

But if life was so stressful, how can Hide Yamamoto be so serene? It's our 250,000 dollar question. He glosses over what is taken for granted.

Twenty years ago Hide was a different man. He didn't find relaxation in such things as fishing or wakeboarding as he does now. "I used to be really bad in the '80s. Really bad." He emphasizes the end of his sentence. "I threw everything around me. One time I threw a whole watermelon." Were we talking to a chef or a rocker? This sounded like a story the National Enquirer would leak on Billy Idol!

We stop Hide and ask him to repeat what he just said to make sure we heard right, regardless if our backup tape recorder was running.

"A watermelon?" We can't believe he'd even raise his voice except to laugh.

"Oh yeah, a whole watermelon." He relays the story so casually. "I threw it at the food and beverage guy, I can't believe now what I did then. I'd get upset. I was hyper. I couldn't concentrate. After that episode, I was just myself with people. My attitude became, 'Whatever you need, we can make it happen.' But, I think what I did that day helped me."

He's not throwing watermelons at his crew anymore. He's not even spitting the seeds. "George (my sous chef) has been with me since 1986." Hide must be doing something different if the majority of his staff from Chatham Bars Inn is following him to the Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C.(Chef Yamamoto recently accepted the executive chef position). "Well," he jokes, "they still can't cook like I cook!" He laughs, then humbly says, "If I don't have them, I don't have success. I have good people working with me."

Hide came to the United States in 1984 where he opened the very successful Chaya Brasserie, one of the few long-running Los Angeles eateries. "At that time, Wolfgang Puck and Joachim Splichal were the big thing. There were interesting things happening in L.A. I was young and I wanted to check out what was happening in different places. There were some new opportunities in the hotel business. It was a challenge because I didn't know any English, only kitchen speak."

But things didn't always go so smoothly. "I was not really into this business at first. Actually, I was enrolled in law school."

We cut in. "Law school?"

Hide continues, "... for-two days." He can't control his laughter. Neither can we.

"My father got the letter (at the end of the summer) saying your son only showed up (to law school) twice. My father was really upset about it because he paid the tuition ... while I was surfing. I had long red hair. I would meet my friends all summer. That was in Tokyo."

"So, I told my father I wanted to go to America."

My dad said, "No way, you'll end up surfing in Hawaii or California!"

Then he paused and thought about it. 'I'll tell you what, why don't you try cooking?' I thought about it for a couple days and said to my father, 'You're right. I like to eat. I like to cook. Why not, right?'"

"You know Maxime's? They have one in Paris and Tokyo. My father knew the chef there and got me in for an interview. I had to cut my hair. I even bought a jacket. But then they did a background check." There's a long pause and Hide smiles as we anxiously await the end of the story.

"... I was in a motorcycle gang in high school. Those gangs were big trouble! There were a couple hundred kids driving through town causing chaos."

And Maxime's?

"They turned me down! They were owned by Sony and were very strict. If you went to Maxime's at that time, they didn't let you touch the fish or the meat. Basically, you were a busboy, dishwasher, or peeled potatoes for years."

So what happened?

"I worked at a very small restaurant. The chef always kicked me! (Hide stands up and demonstrates). But Abe was a great teacher. We were friends--we would work, take walks and go out for drinks."

Following in Abe's footsteps, Hide's kitchen crew doesn't think twice about moving a few hundred miles south to the Mandarin Oriental.

What comes around goes around.

RELATED ARTICLE: Bluefin Tuna with Moromi Miso (Serves 4)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the sauce: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap onion halves in aluminum foil and place in oven for one hour. Remove from oven and cool. Unwrap and remove the centers of the onions, cut in half and reserve for garnish. Chop remaining onions and combine in a bowl with miso, vinegar, mirin, lime zest, juice and yuzu kosho.

For the tuna: In a saucepan, combine dashi, mirin and shoyu; heat to 120 degrees. Season tuna with salt and sansho pepper. Place tuna in liquid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from stock and rest; cut each piece in half.

To serve: Plate tuna and onions; spoon sauce around plate and garnish with lime and salt mixture.

ingredients

For the sauce:

1 onion, peeled, halved and blackened

3 tablespoons moromi miso*

1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon mirin

Zest and juice of 3 limes

1 teaspoon yuzu kosho**

For the tuna:

2 cups dashi

4 ounces mirin

4 ounces shoyu

1 pound bluelin toro, cut into 4-ounce cubes

Salt and sansho pepper***

For the garnish:

2 su dachi limes, halved*

Grated su dachi lime zest mixed with Maldon[R] salt

* Available through True World Foods at (908) 351-1400.

** Yuzu kosho is a Japanese citrus-flavored pepper. Available in Asian markets.

*** Available in Asian markets.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Scallops with Pork Tongue and Miso Topping (Serves 8)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the pork tongue: Combine pork tongue, dashi, mirin, shoyu and pig foot in a saucepan and simmer for two hours. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve for miso sauce; discard pig foot. Peel and slice pork tongue into eight 1/4-inch slices and set aside, keeping warm. Shred remaining pork tongue and reserve for miso sauce.

For the miso topping: Heat oil in a saute pan and cook gingerroot, shallots, garlic and pepper until tender. Deglaze with vinegar and reduce to almost dry. Add cooking liquid and dried scallops; reduce to a sauce consistency. Stir in the remaining pork tongue, chili paste and miso. Set aside, keeping warm.

For the shiso sauce: Remove guts from scallops. Place guts in cheesecloth over a small bowl, straining liquid. In a blender, mix shiso leaves, grapeseed oil, olive oil and scallop juice until combined. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the scallops: Prepare a hot grill. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Grill scallops on both sides to desired doneness; remove from grill, rest and slice in half.

To serve: Place scallop half in pool of shiso sauce. Layer with pork tongue, scallop half and miso topping. Lay shell on bed of rice and serve.

ingredients

For the pork tongue:

8 ounces pork tongue

1 1/2 quarts dashi

4 ounces mirin

4 ounces shoyu

1/2 pig foot, halved

For the miso topping:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and grated

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch Korean ground pepper*

1 tablespoon brown rice wine vinegar

Reserved pork tongue liquid

1 tablespoon grated dried scallops*

Reserved shredded pork tongue

1/2 tablespoon Japanese chili paste*

1 tablespoon brown miso

For the shiso sauce:

1 cup juice from sea scallop guts

10 shiso leaves

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt

For the scallops:

8 sea scallops

Salt and pepper

For the garnish:

8 scallop shells, warmed

Short grain rice as needed

* Available at Asian markets.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Glazed Pork Belly with Mushrooms (Serves 4)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the pork belly: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season pork belly with salt and pepper and lightly brown in a small roasting pan. Remove pork belly and add onions, garlic, gingerroot and apples to pan. Deglaze with apple juice, vinegar, dashi, shoyu and add pork belly back to pan. Bring to a boil, cover, place in oven and braise for six hours. Remove pork belly from braising liquid and cut into eight slices. Reserve one cup braising liquid for the mushrooms. Reserve remaining liquid for another use.

For the mushrooms: Heat oil in a saucepan and add mushrooms; cook for five minutes. Add shallots and garlic puree; cook until shallots turn translucent. Add reserved liquid and bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set mushrooms aside, keeping warm. Transfer cooking liquid to a blender; add shiro miso and aka miso, blending until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and add mushrooms back to cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Spoon mushroom mixture in a bowl and top with pork belly slices. Garnish with nori salt mixture and garlic flower.

ingredients

For the pork belly:

1 pound pork belly, scored

4 onions, peeled and chopped

2 heads garlic, halved

1-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

3 cups apple juice from green apples

1 1/2 cups apple balsamic vinegar

3 quarts dashi

3 ounces shoyu

For the mushrooms:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces matsutake mushrooms

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms

4 ounces enoki mushrooms

4 ounces cepes mushrooms

4 ounces lobster mushrooms

4 ounces hon shimeji mushrooms*

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic puree

Reserved braising liquid

2 teaspoons shiro miso

1 tablespoon aka miso

Salt and pepper

For the garnish:

1 sheet toasted nori crushed and mixed with Maldon[R] sea salt

Garlic flower

* Available through True World Foods at (908) 351-1400.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Pigeon Terrine with Shiro Miso (Serves 8)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the duck tongues: Preheat deep fryer to 350 degrees. Confit duck tongues in duck fat. Transfer to a deep fryer, cooking tongues until crispy.

For the stock: Heat oil and brown pigeon bones in a saucepan. Add leeks, garlic, carrots and apples; cook until tender. Deglaze with sake and reduce by half; add water. Bring to a simmer for an hour, skimming occasionally. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Bring stock to 140 degrees. Season four pigeon breasts with salt and pepper and place in stock, poaching until desired doneness. Remove pigeon breasts from stock and slice into 1/4-inch pieces, reserving for the terrine. Chill stock in an ice bath; reserve for terrine.

For the terrine: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add remaining meat and egg whites; mix well. Remove from food processor and place in a saucepan with sake, shallots, leeks, garlic, celery root, carrots, matsutake stems and stock. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until solids form and begin to rise to the top to form a raft. Gently simmer for 40 minutes and break a hole into center of raft. Ladle broth through a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve and place over medium heat. Add shoyu and matsutake caps; cover for five minutes. Remove, slice mushroom caps and reserve. Reduce stock to two cups and add gelatin. Chilf. stock, just until it starts to congeal, then add pigeon and mushrooms. Line a 12X1 1/2X2-inch terrine mold with plastic wrap. Pour the chilled stock into the mold and refrigerate for five hours. Unmold and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices.

For the onions: Place yuzu juice, sugar and onions in a bowl and season with salt. Refrigerate for two hours.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix well. Set aside, keeping cool.

To serve: Arrange three slices of duck terrine on a plate with mizuna and duck tongue. Garnish plate with onions and mushrooms and drizzle with sauce.

ingredients

For the stock:

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 pigeons, skinned and boned; 4 breasts and bones for stock; reserve remaining meat for terrine

4 leeks, white part only, chopped

2 heads garlic, split

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

12 ounces 8-year old sake

2 quarts water

For the terrine:

Reserved pigeon meat

2 egg whites

4 ounces 8-year old sake

4 shallots, peeled and sliced

2 leeks, white part only, sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

8 ounces celery root, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 matsutake mushrooms, stems chopped; reserve caps

Reserved stock

4 tablespoons aged shoyu

4 tablespoons mirin

4 leaves gelatin, softened in cool water

For the onions:

1 cup yuzu juice*

2 tablespoons sugar

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt

For the sauce:

6 tablespoons shiro miso

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/3 cup mustard seed oil

For the duck tongues:

16 duck tongues**

Duck fat as needed

For the garnish:

Mizuna***

* Available in Asian markets.

** Available at D'Artagnan.

*** Mizuna is a Japanese green with a delicate mustard taste. Available through The Chef's Garden at (800) 289-4644.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Veal with Aka Miso Bouillon (Serves 4)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the yuzu salt: Blanch yuzu zest in simple syrup. Remove yuzu zest and place on a rack to dry overnight. Grind in a spice grinder. Transfer yuzu to a bowl and mix with salt.

For the veal: In a saucepan, add veal shanks, tongue, leeks, parsnips, celery root, garlic, red wine and veal stock. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for four hours. Reduce heat to 140 degrees and add the sweetbreads. Cook for 20 minutes and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Remove meat and sweetbreads from sieve and discard vegetables. Remove shank meat from bone and dice; peel veal tongue and thinly slice; remove outer membrane from sweetbreads and dice. Chill stock in an ice bath and reserve for bouillon.

For the bouillon: Combine all ingredients, except stock, in a bowl and mix well. Add mixture to stock and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until solids form and begin to rise to top to form a raft. Gently simmer for 45 minutes and break a hole into center of raft. Ladle bouillon through a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Divide veal, scallions, Brussels sprouts, sake, bone marrow and bouillon into four bowls. Garnish with mitsuba and yuzu salt.

For the garnish:

12 scallions, trimmed and blanched

4 Brussels sprouts, blanched and halved

4 ounces 8-year old sake

12 ounces bone marrow, sliced

Mitsuba sprigs

ingredients

For the yuzu salt:

Zest of 1 yuzu

1/2 cup simple syrup

Maldon salt

For the veal:

2 veal shanks

1 veal tongue

6 leeks, white part only, sliced

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 celery roots, peeled and chopped

2 heads garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 bottle red wine

1 gallon white veal stock

1/2 pound sweetbreads

For the bouillon:

1 1/2 pounds ground veal shoulder

1 leek, white part only, sliced

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 turnip, peeled and chopped

1/2 celery root, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

6 egg whites

1/2 cup aka miso

1 tablespoon shiro miso

1/4 cup mirin

Aged shoyu as needed

Reserved stock

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RELATED ARTICLE: Tuna Shiro Miso "Soup" (Serves 4)

Josh DeChellis

directions

For the tuna: Combine tuna, gingerroot, myoga, scallions and shiso in a bowl. Fold in miso and form into four mounds.

To serve: Divide ice among four small bowls. Serve mounds on ice, garnishing with caviar and mitsuba. Divide water evenly between bowls.

ingredients

For the tuna:

8 ounces ahi tuna, finely chopped

1/4-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon chopped myoga*

1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion

3 shiso leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon shiro miso*

For the garnish:

2 cups chopped ice

1 ounce osetra caviar

Mitsuba sprigs*

2 cups ice water

* Myoga ginger is grown for its spring shoots or edible flower buds. Shiro miso, mitsuba sprigs and myoga are available at Japanese markests.

RELATED ARTICLE: Chicken Sashimi and Moro Miso (Serves 4)

Hide Yamamoto

directions

For the chicken sashimi: Blanch chicken tenders in boiling water for a few seconds and cool in an ice water bath. Blot dry with paper towels, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To finish, remove from freezer and slice thinly.

For the pickled carrots: Combine orange juice, honey, anise seeds and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add carrots and cook until slightly tender. Remove from heat and cool until needed. Reserve carrots in sauce until needed.

For the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well; set aside.

To serve: Remove carrots from liquid and place in center of dish. Alternate chicken and cucumbers in layers over carrots. Drizzle vinaigrette and garnish with chervil and gold leaf.

ingredients

For the chicken sashimi:

12 ounces free-range chicken tenders, trimmed*

For the pickled carrots:

3 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

10 anise seeds

1/2 tablespoon salt

2 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks

For the vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons moro miso**

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Japanese rice wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

For the dish:

4 ounces hothouse cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise

For the garnish:

Chervil sprigs

Gold leaf

* Art Culinaire suggests taking special precautions with raw poultry.

** Available at Asian markets.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Kobe Beef Short Ribs with Chung Kook Jang Miso (Serves 4)

Hide Yamamoto

directions

For the miso marinade: Combine sakura miso and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside. Combine sake, star anise, mirin, garlic, gingerroot and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes. Chill in an ice bath and combine with miso mixture. Set aside for short ribs.

For the short ribs: Score the fat of the short ribs. Cure with sugar for 30 minutes. Refrigerate in miso marinade for three days. Remove from marinade and rinse with cool water. Blot dry with paper towels and air-dry in refrigerator for three more days. Place short ribs in a saucepan with sake and cover with plastic wrap and foil. Cook in a steamer for one hour and 20 minutes. Remove from saucepan, allow to rest and cut into four servings. Set aside, keeping warm. Reserve one cup short rib liquid for miso sauce and one-half cup liquid for the dish.

For the miso sauce: Combine miso with short rib liquid in a saucepan and simmer for two minutes. Set aside, keeping warm.

For the vegetables: Combine celery, gingerroot, chili pepper and remaining short rib liquid in a separate saucepan and simmer for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Place short ribs on a plate and spoon with miso sauce. Garnish with miso, vegetables, gingko nuts and star anise.

ingredients

For the miso marinade:

3 ounces sakura miso*

3 ounces soy sauce

1/2 cup sake

2 star anise

3 ounces mirin

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and sliced

1 cinnamon stick

For the short ribs:

2 pounds kobe beef short ribs, deboned

3 ounces sugar

1 1/4 cups sake

For the miso sauce:

4 ounces chung kook jang miso*

1 cup reserved short rib liquid

For the vegetables:

1 rib celery, peeled and julienned

1/2-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and julienned

1 dried Japanese red chili pepper, rehydrated in water and julienned

1/2 cup reserved short rib liquid

For the garnish:

4 ounces chung kook jang miso*

16 gingko nuts, boiled

4 star anise

* Available in Asian markets.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Seafood Stew with Gnocchi (Serves 4)

Hide Yamamoto

directions

For the gnocchi: Pass potatoes through a food mill into a bowl. Add the egg and slowly mix in flour by hand until combined. Divide dough into three equal parts. Mix squid ink into the first portion until combined. Add spinach puree to the second portion and mix until combined. Mix shichimi peppers to the final portion and mix until combined. Roll out each portion of dough to 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece on the tines of a fork to create the lines along the gnocchi. Cook in salted boiling water until they float. Shock in an ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

For the seafood stew: Combined sakura and saikyo misos, sake, mirin and egg yolks in a double boiler and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Add water, transfer to a large saucepan and simmer. Add remaining ingredients and cook for ten minutes. Finish by adding gnocchi to heat.

To serve: Divide stew into four bowls and garnish with yuzu zest, sesame seeds and gingko nuts.

Note: If the gnocchi are worked too much, they will become gummy.

ingredients

For the gnocchi:

1 pound Idaho potatoes, peeled and cooked

5 ounces all-purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon squid ink

1/4 pound spinach, blanched, strained and chopped

1 tablespoon shichimi togarashi pepper*

For the seafood stew:

6 ounces sakura miso*

3 ounces saikyo miso*

1/4 cup sake

1/4 cup mirin

2 egg yolks

3 1/2 cups water

1 stone crab, quartered

4 sea scallops

4 botanebi shrimp*

8 oysters, shucked

4 ounces cod fillet

8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

1 bunch watercress

For the garnish:

Yuzu zest, julienned*

1 teaspoon roasted white sesame seeds

Gingko nuts, skewered

* Available in Asian markets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Korean-Style Duck Tartare, Lacquered Egg and Matsutake Mushrooms (Serves 4)

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For the lacquered eggs: Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Place eggs in oven for one hour. Cool and peel eggs, reserving yolks and discarding whites. Combine miso, mirin and sake in a bowl. In a pan, place half miso mixture, a layer of cheesecloth, egg yolks, another layer of cheesecloth and remaining miso mixture. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove, rinse yolks with cool water and set aside.

For the rice cracker: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Combine rice and water in a saucepan, cover and cook until very soft. Add sesame seeds and pour onto a Silpat, spreading into a thin layer. Bake in oven until crispy; set aside to cool.

For the rice: Rinse rice with water and place all ingredients in rice cooker. Cook until tender and set aside, keeping warm.

For the scallion oil: Heat oil in a saucepan and add scallions. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Add soy sauce to finish and set aside.

For the grilled mushrooms: Prepare a hot grill. Marinate mushrooms in sake and salt for 10 minutes. Remove from marinade and grill until desired doneness; set aside, keeping warm.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well; refrigerate for duck tartare until needed.

For the Korean-style duck tartare: Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well; refrigerate until needed. To finish, add sauce and mix well.

To serve: Place a 1 1/2-inch ring mold on a plate and layer with rice, duck tartare and egg. Remove mold and arrange rice cracker and mushrooms. Drizzle plate with scallion oil and garnish egg yolk with micro chives and chili peppers.

For the lacquered eggs:

4 eggs

3 ounces saikyo miso*

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

For the rice cracker:

1 ounce short grain rice

1 1/4 cups water

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

For the rice:

4 ounces short grain rice

2 pieces matsutake mushrooms

1/2 cup dashi

For the scallion oil:

3 scallions, sliced

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the grilled mushrooms:

2 matsutake mushrooms, quartered

1/2 tablespoon sake

1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons chili bean paste

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons saikyo miso*

2 tablespoons sugar

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon chopped scallions

1/2 tablespoon sesame paste

For the Korean-style duck tartare:

8 ounces duck breast, skinned, fat removed and chopped**

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and chopped

1/2 hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

Reserved sauce

For the garnish:

Micro chives

Chili peppers, thinly sliced

* Available at Asian markets.

** Art Culinaire suggests taking special precautions with raw poultry.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Grilled Lobster with Miso-Glazed Vegetables (Serves 4)

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directions

For the pomegranate sauce: Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well; set aside.

For the miso-glazed vegetables: Combine sakura miso, sake and mirin in a bowl; mix well. Spread mixture on top of sweet potato and set aside, keeping warm. Combine saikyo miso, egg yolk, sesame seed paste, sake and sugar in a double boiler and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and spread mixture on top of acorn squash. Set aside, keeping warm. Combine shinshu miso, spinach puree and pectin; mix well. Spread mixture on top of eggplant and set aside, keeping warm.

For the lobster: Prepare a hot grill. Combine sake and chili paste in a bowl, brush over lobster and season with salt. Grill until desire doneness.

To serve: Place lobster on plate and garnish with miso-glazed vegetables; drizzle with pomegranate sauce.

ingredients

For the pomegranate sauce:

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

For the miso-glazed vegetables:

1 ounce sakura miso*

1/2 tablespoon sake

1/2 tablespoon mirin

1 Japanese sweet potato, cut into four 2-inch ovals, skewered and grilled

2 tablespoons saikyo miso*

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon sesame seed paste

1/2 tablespoon sake

1 teaspoon sugar

1 acorn squash, cut into four 2-inch ovals, skewered and grilled

2 tablespoon shinshu miso*

1/4 cup spinach, blanched, strained and pureed

1 teaspoon pectin

1 eggplant, cut into four 2-inch ovals, skewered and grilled

For the lobster:

1 ounce Chinese chili paste

1 tablespoon sake

2 lobster tails, halved

Salt

* Available at Asian markets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Monkfish Liver Terrine with Leeks (Serves 4)

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directions

For the monkfish liver terrine: Cure monkfish liver in salt for 10 minutes, then marinate in sake for 30 minutes. Remove from sake and using plastic wrap, roll into a 3/4-inch diameter cylinder. Steam for five minutes and refrigerate overnight. Slice into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces.

For the leeks: Cut leeks into four 2-inch, four 1 1/2-inch, four 1-inch and four 1/2-inch-long pieces. Blanch leeks and chives; shock in an ice water bath. Tie chives around leeks and set aside.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide into four small bowls and set aside.

To serve: Brush plate with Chinese chili paste and make a fine line of wakame. Place leeks on plate as shown and top with monkfish liver. Garnish with sea urchin, caviar, amaranth and yuzu zest. Serve sauce on the side.

ingredients

For the monkfish liver terrine:

1 pound monkfish liver, peeled and deveined

Salt as needed

1/4 cup dry sake

For the leeks:

4 leeks, outer leaves removed

40 chives

For the sauce:

1/2 cup saikyo miso

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons Japanese mustard*

For the garnish:

1/2 tablespoon Chinese chili paste*

Wakame, crushed as needed

4 ounces sea urchin

2 ounces osetra caviar

16 amaranth leaves

Zest from 1 yuzu, sliced*

* Available at Asian markets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Pig's Feet Salad (Serves 4)

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directions

For the pig's feet: Soak feet in cool water for one hour, changing water frequently. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add vinegar and pig's feet. Simmer for one hour, remove feet from water and cool. Remove skin from feet and dice meat. Set aside.

For the dressing: Combine red bean paste, sugar, sesame oil, chili pepper powder, gingerroot, scallions, sesame seeds and soy sauce in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes. Chill in an ice water bath and add vinegar; set aside.

For the salad: Add tomatoes, shallots, chives and dressing to diced pig's feet and mix well.

To serve: Serve salad on top of rice paper and garnish with micro herbs.

ingredients

For the pig's feet:

2 whole pig's feet

2 ounces white vinegar

For the dressing:

2 ounces red bean paste*

1 1/2 ounces sugar

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Korean chili pepper powder*

1/4-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

For the salad:

3 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the garnish:

4 pieces Vietnamese rice paper

Micro herbs as needed

* Available at Asian markets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
COPYRIGHT 2004 Culinaire, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
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Title Annotation:miso
Author:Newman, Carol M.
Publication:Art Culinaire
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Words:6605
Previous Article:Beignet done that.
Next Article:Crab gate; The fall of an American icon: the waterman.
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