Yotam Ottolenghi’s miso recipes | Food
Open my fridge, and you’ll find a load of ‘trick’ condiments for injecting food with flavour, the trick being fermentation and its deep impact on cooking. Fermented ingredients, of which miso is a shining star, have multiple layers and serious depth, which saves on time and effort creating that complexity yourself. My miso jar comes in especially handy for cooking vegetables without any help from animal-based products. It gives food – even desserts, notably when caramel is involved – an umami boost and an unmistakable, yet very delicious, funk.
Potato and gochujang braised eggs (above)
Here, eggs are baked nestled inside a giant rösti with a crisp bottom, giving you a perfect brunch combination. Try to stick to ½cm batons for the vegetables and not grate them, because you won’t get the crispness you’re after. You can do this with a sharp knife or, more conveniently, a mandoline or a food processor with the appropriate attachment. Be sure to source a good-quality gochujang (a fermented Korean red pepper paste), because they’re much punchier than most supermarket brands.
Prep 20 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4 as a main
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
400g large baking potatoes (ie, 1-2 potatoes), peeled and cut into ½cm batons
1 small kohlrabi, peeled and cut into ½cm batons (160g net weight)
1 tbsp gochujang paste
2 tsp white miso paste
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges, to serve
For the salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp gochujang paste
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp chives, finely chopped
2 tsp mixed black and white sesame seeds, toasted
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Using a little olive oil, lightly grease a 28cm nonstick saute pan for which you have a lid, then put it the oven to heat for five minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the first six ingredients and a quarter-teaspoon of salt until well coated (you may want to wear rubber gloves). Remove the pan from the oven, tip in the potato mixture and spread out evenly, then return the pan to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway, until golden brown and crisp on top.
Use the back of a dessertspoon to make eight wells in the potato mixture, then crack an egg into each one. Cover the pan and return it to the oven for eight minutes, or until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny (if you like, use a small spoon and carefully peel away the white film over the yolks to reveal their colour). Season the eggs with a little salt.
While the eggs are cooking, mix all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. To serve, drizzle the salsa all over the eggs and potatoes and serve straight from the pan with the lime wedges alongside to squeeze on top.
Leeks with miso and chives
The punchy dressing is the star here, and it pairs brilliantly with the mild sweetness of the leeks. It’s also great tossed with new potatoes or drizzled over fish, chicken or tofu. The fried leek tops and garlic add aroma and crunch, but if you want to save yourself from deep-frying and/or time, leave them out and serve the leeks with the dressing alone.
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4 as a starter
12 medium leeks, trimmed – leave some of the green tops intact
300ml vegetable oil
1¼ tsp cornflour
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
For the miso and chive dressing
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Flaked sea salt
1½ tbsp mixed black and white sesame seeds, well toasted
5 tbsp chives, finely chopped, plus 1 tsp extra to serve
1½ tbsp white miso
¾ tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Remove the tough outer layers of the leeks and wash them well to remove any grit. Cut off and reserve the green tops so each leek is about 22cm long. Finely slice 60g of the reserved tops into thin, 8cm-long strips. Rinse the leek greens again, to ensure you’ve removed any grit, then drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel.
For the miso and chive dressing, pound the ginger and a quarter-teaspoon of flaked salt in a mortar (or with the flat of a knife). Put in a small bowl with all the remaining dressing ingredients except the oil, stir well to combine and set aside.
Take a pot that’s wide enough to hold the leeks lengthways, half-fill it with lightly salted water, then put on a medium-high heat. Once the water is simmering, add the leeks and turn down the heat to medium. Put a lid that’s smaller than the pan on top of the leeks to weigh them down and keep them under the water’s surface, then simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until a knife goes through easily but they are still holding their shape. Transfer the leeks to a colander and stand them up vertically so they drain thoroughly.
Put the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and line a plate with kitchen paper. Toss the dried, sliced leek tops in a teaspoon of cornflour. Once the oil is hot (170C on a thermometer), fry the leek tops for about two minutes, stirring with a fork, until golden and crisp. Transfer to the lined plate with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with flaked salt.
Toss the sliced garlic in the remaining quarter-teaspoon of cornflour and fry for about a minute, stirring regularly to keep the garlic slices separate, until crisp and golden brown. Add to the plate of fried leeks and sprinkle with more flaked salt.
Arrange the braised leeks on a platter and spoon over the dressing. Drizzle with the olive oil and top with the fried leeks and garlic. Sprinkle with the extra chives and serve.
Sticky bananas with brown sugar and lime
This punchy dessert has everything – sweetness, acidity, saltiness and umami – which makes the creme fraiche essential for rounding out the flavours and mellowing them a little. The bananas you use should have almost completely yellow skins, with only the faintest bit of brown spotting. If you don’t have a spice grinder, it will be virtually impossible to grind the rice sufficiently, so leave it out or use chopped toasted peanuts instead.
Prep 5 min
Cook 30 min
40g unsalted butter
70g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp ground star anise
150g creme fraiche
1½ tbsp white miso
4 semi-ripe medium bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
1 lime – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then cut into 4 wedges
For the toasted rice topping
1 tbsp uncooked white rice
2 tsp black sesame seeds
½ tsp ground star anise
Set the oven grill to its highest setting. Meanwhile, put the rice in a small frying pan on a medium heat and toast for 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until deeply golden. Transfer to a spice grinder, blitz very finely, then tip into a small bowl. Return the pan to a medium-high heat, add the sesame seeds and toast, shaking the pan regularly, for about a minute, then tip into the rice bowl. Add the ground star anise and mix to combine.
Put the butter, sugar, star anise and a tablespoon of creme fraiche in a large, ovenproof cast-iron pan (or large saute pan) and put on a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then, off the heat, whisk in the miso until smooth. Add the bananas cut side-up, and use a spoon to coat the tops with some of the caramel. Transfer the pan to the oven and grill for eight minutes (timings will vary depending on your grill), or until the bananas have softened and taken on quite a lot of colour.
Sprinkle over the lime zest and a tablespoon of the rice topping, and serve hot straight from the pan, with the lime wedges, remaining creme fraiche and some extra crunchy topping alongside.