A thick fermented paste commonly made using soybeans (though it can be made with other grains or pulses such as barley or chickpeas), miso is generally associated only with the ubiquitous soup that bears its name. That’s a shame, because its uses are many. For instance, in Japan it’s often used as a glaze for cooked fish or eggplant; I even put it in caramel. What makes miso a standout is that it adds umami to anything it touches. Umami describes that rich and savory flavor that you get from things like Parmesan, beef broth, or mushrooms.
Drizzle this Miso and Lime Dressing over Seared Sea Scallops with Microgreens Salad, or use it in one of these “Extra Credit” recipe ideas:
• Blanch green beans or broccoli florets and toss with the dressing. Top with sesame seeds. This side is good warm or at room temperature.
• Serve seared tuna steak atop salad greens with the dressing drizzled over all.
• Do a Japanese-style potato salad for your next picnic: toss boiled fingerlings while still warm with miso and lime dressing, and then with chopped scallions.
• Thread extra-firm tofu cubes and 2-inch pieces of scallions onto kebab sticks. Season with salt, brush with toasted sesame oil, and grill or broil. Drizzle with the dressing.
— Vanessa Seder
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to our conversation with Vanessa Seder, and get her tips for making modern sauces for everyday cooking on The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze®. •
Recipe excerpted from Secret Sauces by Vanessa Seder, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Stacey Cramp.