Sunday, January 31, 2010

miso dressed up

I tried really hard not to do something goofy with the title, but my father's nature won out over my desire not to be so cheesy - oh dear, "be so" rhymes with "miso." I'm done for.

Anyway, tonight I made Pan-Crisped Tofu with Greens and Peanut Dressing. To say it was a different kind of dinner would be an understatement. It was good, don't get me wrong, but I think it would be better suited as a creative first course for a dinner party. The tofu was a little tough to fork-knife your way through, but the presentation probably would not be as dramatic if I had cubed it first. It probably also would not have been as easy to cook and flip if I had to turn over dozens of little squares, rather than 8 rectangles.
Very attractive plating, don't you think? I'm inclined to think mine is actually more enticing than the recipe picture. I used a serious mix of lettuces - I can't even remember everything, but there are beet greens and mustard greens, arugula, baby spinach, radicchio, frisee, red and green romaine, mizuna and a few other things.

The dressing was fascinating to say the least, and the kind of thing where your tastebuds need to do a double-take. It definitely took a few bites to get used to the intensity of the flavors and I'm pretty sure it wasn 't supposed to be quite like that. The dressing was made up of equal parts of mirin, rice vinegar, and white miso, as well as some minced ginger (thanks again, WF, for that handy little jar) and chopped peanuts. As you can probably tell from the picture, though, I didn't bother diversifying my miso collection and just used my terrifying brown miso. I think it would have made a substantial difference in the dressing's flavor as well as its intensity if I had used the correct miso, so next time, I'll make that investment.

Considering "dinner" was just raw mixed greens, tofu, and some funky dressing, I felt like we needed a starch of some kind. Maybe I'm Donna Reed in disguise (a very, very good one), but I felt like we needed that to balance out the meal. I decided that roasted potatoes would fit the bill, but I thought it kind of broke with the fun Asian theme, so I "spiced" things up a bit by tossing the potatoes with about a teaspoon of Five Spice Powder and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. I think it really added something, particularly an amazing scent (now that I'm starting to get at least half of my smellbuds back). Also, the sweet blandness of the squishy centers was a good complement to the dressing, of which I sopped up the last traces with the potatoes.
Mister loves roasted potatoes.
The whole package!

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