Tag Archives: miso

Asparagus and broad beans risotto with miso and Umeboshi flavours

An all singing, all dancing vegetarian dish to shake our bodies out of the summer slumber! This is as rejuvenating as an outdoor yoga class or a jog in a bluebells’ wood. The miso and Umeboshi (marinated prune paste) are very good and calming for the intestines and will help restore depleted energies. You can find the miso paste and the umeboshi paste in Japanese shops and most health shops in the UK. The Japanese use them to restore intestinal bacteria after an illness or a course of antibiotics. The umeboshi is quite tangy and salty in taste so you will not need to add any salt if you use it – Especially combined with Miso.

You can do without those weird and wonderful ingredients and replace them with a good chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer .  I just wanted to include a healing and strengthening aspect into my recipe . Both versions are delicious.

Ingredients list:

  • 1 shallot
  • olive oil
  • 10 asparagus
  • handful of frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 250g of arborio or other risotto rice
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 600ml of boiling water
  • soy cream to finish
  • 1 Tbsp of umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste (or 1/2 cube stock)
  • Pepper to finish

This quantity serves 5/6 as starter portions or 3 as main. Halve all quantities to cook a plentiful meal for one! There should be just a bit left over for the dog.

This month is the perfect time to use up the latest asparagus and broad beans from the garden or allotment. They are still coming up on market stalls at a bargain. I have even seen them recently at a Pick-your-own farm!

Chop up the shallot and fry it in a little olive oil.

Then throw in the rice and fry that too until the grains look transparent.

Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Then add half the stock and continue simmering and turning. The secret of a good risotto is to add the liquid in stages and to keep the mix soupy and wet until the end so it does not dry too much as it cools down in the plate. Keep simmering and adding stock until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile (or previously), you have washed and trimmed the asparagus and steamed them. The broad beans need to be shelled but not pre-steamed.

You need to season with the umeboshi and the miso paste about 5/10 minutes before the end- not before because boiling would destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria.

Add the asparagus stalks but keep the tips aside. Add the broad beans as well towards the end of the cooking and cover. Rice usually takes 20 min in all.

Dress with a dash of cream, some pepper from the mill and serve warm but not hot.

Decorate with fresh mint!

Decorate with fresh mint!

Here I have used fresh peas and decorated with fresh mint from the potted garden.

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Salmon in miso glaze

Fish dishes are a great entertaining menu and if you are able to serve a whole wild salmon – as I did here- then it is worth doing a little bit of a show about it. Salmon  is such a good looking fish that I would advise to serve it intact and without cutting up its head – plus this will give more taste to the sauce eventually.

I do not have a proper Poissonniere dish so I use a roasting dish but if you have, do not hold back! 

Ingredients list:

  • One whole salmon or 6 salmon steaks
  • Water 500ml
  • Bouquet garni made with bay leaves, tarragon or basil and mint
  • Star anis 2 to 4 heads
  • Turmeric 1 Tbsp
  • Saffron 2 strands
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze:

  • Shiro Miso paste 100 g
  • Mirin vinegar 1 tsp (sweet Japanese vinegar)
  • Soy sauce 2 tbsp
  • Olive or sesame oil 4 Tbsp

First clean the fish or cut it up into steaks.

Put it into a deep roasting dish and cover with water about half-way up. I line my dish with foil because it is easier to clean afterwards but you do not have to and it is probably not very “macrobiotic” to use foil… But practical!

Chuck in the “bouquet garni” and the spices. Do try to get fresh tarragon because combined with the star anis it will give the flesh a very subtle and sweet flavour that I find irresistible.

Warm the saffron strands into some hot water and chuck that in too. The saffron and turmeric give this dish its warm colour.

Put the fish in a hot oven and bake until you can insert a knife into the flesh all the way to the bone. I prefer to slightly undercook it to allow for the second grilling.

When it is baked, reserve until your guests arrive and prepare the glaze by mixing the miso with a bit of Japanese vinegar, some sesame oil and soy sauce.

If doing a whole fish, cut up the skin in the middle and push it back to uncover the flesh.

Then spread the miso marinade abundantly over it- Or just on one side of the steaks if doing individual portions.

Put the dish back in the oven at the last minute and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, watching over it carefully so it does not burn!

Serve with ladle-full of the very fragrant sauce and some rice salad or quinoa.

Baked in the juice, the salmon remains very moist. Best to baste it from time to time during the cooking, though. For the flavours need to penetrate the flesh.

The other plus point is you can also prepare most of this dish in advance, which makes for a great entertaining plan. We served a Chablis over this but a Sancerre would have been lovely too ; and in the summer I would serve it with a good rosé! My winemaker mother reckons anything pink is greatly enhanced by rosé and she should know… Do try because it is a fantastic idea and it works: from shrimps to pork, from ham to strawberries  – and smoked salmon. If you can’t source my favourite at Chateau de la Tuilerie, then try the delicious “English rose” from Chapel Down in Kent. Both world-class!