June 16, 2013

Miso Marinade

I posted this recipe on my sister site (Wish Upon A Dish), last week, as an entry into a recipe contest sponsored by the Honey Board.
Contest has ended and I wanted to share it with you............

Honey provides balance to any dish, complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors: sweet, savory, sour, bitter and salty.

We all know marinades and BBQ sauces use lots of brown sugar for not only the sweetness but for a molasses flavor.
Did you know that buckwheat honey also adds that rich, dark molasses flavor and color to these foods, making it ideal for browning and glazing?

Learning that information led to the development of this marinade and basting sauce using honey instead of the traditional brown sugar.

Now I have a great recipe, using whole foods to make it healthier and diappropriate. Although the Honey Board's recommendation is a substitution of up to half the sweetener in any sauce or marinade, my sweetener was 100% honey. It needed nothing else.

As a matter of fact I used the "bottom of a honey bottle" to make and to store my marinade. Just shake and use.

Many years ago I was introduced to miso. 
Still not an easy item to find, I was lucky and found mine at a local Asian market. Near a Whole Foods? You can buy miso there and if not, since it requires no refrigeration until you use it, this is also an excellent on-line source for all your miso needs.

What exactly is it? It's like yogurt and is generally made with soybeans.
It's fermented and contains a culture.
Most miso is consumed in Japan and is a side or condiment that is added to a meal uncooked.
Like yogurt, once you cook the miso you kill the live culture.
Like yogurt or any fermented food, it is an excellent tenderizer.
Unlike yogurt, it is classified by grain type, color, taste and background.
  • mugi (麦): barley
  • tsubu (粒): whole wheat/barley
  • genmai (玄米): brown rice
  • moromi (醪): chunky, healthy (kōji is unblended)
  • nanban (南蛮): mixed with hot chili pepper for dipping sauce
  • taima (大麻): hemp seed
  • sobamugi (蕎麦): buckwheat
  • hadakamugi (裸麦): rye
  • nari (蘇鉄): made from cycad pulp, Buddhist temple diet
  • gokoku (五穀): "5 grain": soy, wheat, barley, proso millet, and foxtail millet
Most Americans are familiar with miso in soup form, that uses dashi (bonito flakes), shiitake mushrooms and tofu. Not so familiar to Americans is it's use in salad dressings and marinades.

You are now going to be very happy and will want to hug me. Two distinct reasons:

This marinade includes all 5 taste senses.....
Bitter & Sour - ginger and naranja agria (sour orange)
Salty - fermented soybeans (miso)
Sweet - honey
Umami - sake (seasoned white wine)

......making it the PERFECT MARINADE.

The nutritionals are blockbuster good.....
Although very high in sodium (over 400% DV), one cup (275 g) of miso paste is an excellent source of dietary fiber (59%) and protein (64% DV), as well as a good source of minerals. Miso paste is also high in amino acids, the basic building blocks of protein. An excellent source of vitamin K and a decent source of riboflavin (38% DV), miso also provides small amounts of other vitamins. One major benefit of miso is its extremely high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content, although the balance is six times greater for omega-6 than omega-3. A cup of miso soup can be a complete meal depending on what other ingredients are included.

Now for the bonus reason.....
I have used it on pork, salmon and chicken. All with great success.  I can only imagine what it would do to a steak or better yet, mixed into a hamburger.
Trust me, you will never use another marinade. If you want other flavor components, like say, garlic, herbs or spices, go ahead. All compatible.

Miso Salmon
Prep time: 10 minutes
Unattended time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes an inch
Makes: 4 servings

* 1/4 cup sake (or gin)
* 1/4 cup Goya naranja agria (or fresh sour orange juice)
* 1/2 cup red or white miso
* 2 tablespoons amber honey
* 2 tablespoons buckwheat honey (optional) or 1/4 cup total favorite honey
* 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk to incorporate. Shake before using.

* 4 (6oz) salmon fillets, skin on
* 1/4 cup miso marinade

1. In a bowl or large plastic bag add the salmon and marinade, turning to coat on all sides.
2. Heat a gas, light about 25 charcoal briquettes or heat a heavy-weight grill pan. While grill is heating, marinate your salmon.
3. Place the salmon, skin side down, directly onto the heated grill, over the heat and close the lid (or cover with foil) and cook for 10 minutes an inch. Thinner fillets will only take about 5-6 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, tent with foil allow the fish to rest for 5 minutes.

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