We saw a butterfly! Poor creature born before his time: snow and no nectar, not even a crocus.
I almost made pink soba for dinner. There is a recipe online for walnut miso sauce on soba, but didn’t bookmark it. Walnuts and miso together sounds like a good match, then I remembered a recipe from Ms. Shimbo’s book, The Japanese Kitchen, for a walnut miso dressing for vegetables. I recall that it was quite thick, and rather sweet so I have altered the original recipe a bit, adding a little rice vinegar and more dashi. The pink soba will be more appropriate when spring really has begun.
Spaghetti with Walnut Miso Sauce
my own version
based on Kurumi-miso-ae
serves 2 to 4
- 2 ¼ ounces (½ cup) walnut meats
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 Tablespoon corn oil
- 1 Tablespoon mild miso
- 1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
- 1 Tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup dashi (Japanese stock)
- salt to taste
- okra, red pepper, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens, asparagus, broccoli, burdock, green beans, or spinach
- 8 to 10 ounces spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape
- 1 Tablespoon oil
Heat a medium skillet over low to medium heat, add the walnuts, and toast them until they are heated through. I refine Ms. Shimbo’s recipe by rubbing the skins off the toasted nuts when they have cooled. The skin tastes bitter, especially when it’s black, and can be seen as unpleasant flecks in the sauce. Because you are going to grind the nuts, don’t worry about breaking them as you rub the skin off. Sometimes you can coax a reluctant skin off by re-heating the nuts.
Reserve 6 to 8 nuts for garnish. Put the remainder into a suribachi, or other mortar, or a food processor. Grind the nuts until they are smooth and oily looking. The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
Heat the ginger, garlic, and oil until they smell good! Don’t let the garlic burn.
One at a time, add the ginger and garlic, miso, mirin, and shoyu, rice vinegar, and sugar to the mortar, grinding between each addition. Add the dashi and continue mixing until the mixture has the texture of a thick sauce. Add more dashi if needed. Check the seasoning, and add salt if you like.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil the vegetable(s) of choice for 1 to 2 minutes—spinach will cook much more quickly than broccoli. Drain, cool and dry.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Don’t rinse, but if it will sit for a while dress it with oil.
To serve, toss the vegetables with the sauce, and serve over the spaghetti. Garnish with the reserved walnuts.
You can see that I didn’t toss veggies and sauce: thought it would look prettier; and forgot the walnuts when I took the photos.
pan-fried lamb chop with mushrooms mmmmmmm