Miso, in Jordan’s world, is a magical thing. Of course, it’s the base for my favorite kind of soup, but it’s so much more than that. It’s complex, and rich, and salty, and savory, and full of umami— that much sought after “fifth taste” that so many cooks are constantly trying to create. Anywhere unbound glutimates are present– in everything from tomatoes to Parmesan cheese to steaks, and yes, miso, you will taste umami. I usually buy miso paste at a nearby Asian supermarket, and keep it around to use as a secret ingredient in lots of savory dishes to deepen the flavor and add that unidentifiable “something extra.” It comes in little tubs that look like this:
What is miso paste? Fermented, cooked soybeans and some rice and/or barley. Miso paste comes in three varieties: white, yellow, or red. The deeper the color, the more intense the flavor. I know, it sounds a little odd, but if you drink beer or coffee, or eat pickles or sauerkraut, or even chocolate, you’ve already had fermented food, making miso no big deal, and putting you in just the right spot to try miso butter. Once I explain how to make this wonderful concoction, if you don’t become a little bit
emotionally attached addicted to putting this stuff on everything– roasted veggies, steak, fish, even baked potatoes, I’m not sure we can be friends. Kidding. Sort of. Not really. Yeah, I’m kidding. Probably.
It’s such a simple thing to make, I can’t even really give you a recipe. It’s more of a ratio– 2:1, softened, unsalted butter to miso paste. I usually use dark red miso paste for mine, but if you’ve never used miso paste for anything before now, you can start with something lighter and less intense. You can make a small batch for one dinner, say, 2 tablespoons butter to 1 tablespoon miso paste, or make a big batch, more like 1 cup butter to 1/2 a cup miso paste, that you keep in a container in the fridge to use any time you feel the urge to up the flavor factor. You can also roll it into a log wrapped in wax paper and freeze it, just like you would do with slice and bake cookies, then just slice off a little chunk to use whenever the mood strikes.
I used miso butter on some roasted baby potatoes to go with my dinner earlier this week, and it took those potatoes from, “Yeah, those are pretty good,” to, “Holy crap take these away from me before I eat them all and actually turn into a potato.”
I hope you’ll take yourself on a little flavor adventure and give this a try. If you really, truly, honestly don’t like it, send the rest to me. I’ll definitely
take a bath in it find a use for it.