Sorry for the Hold-Up

on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is for T., who was over for dinner and wondered how the salad dressing came together...

Mirin-Miso Miracle Dressing:

You'll need the following base...

8 parts neutral oil (rice bran or grapeseed are you loveliest of heart healthy options...)
4 parts mirin (japanese sweet cooking wine)
4 parts rice wine vinegar (if you like the dressing sweeter, you can substitute mirin for some or even all of the vinegar, but it's not my personal preference, plus vinegar is a calorie free way to add bite and flavor, while mirin is definitely not)
1 part Dijon mustard (more to taste if you like)
*1 part miso paste (red/white to taste)

Once these are combined, add salt and pepper to taste. It's quite important to put the miso in BEFORE adding in the salt, as you otherwise risk over-salting the dressing altogether.

Depending on the density of the miso paste, you might find it useful to add the liquid to the miso a little bit at a time, blending it in, so that you don't have chunks of miso paste floating in the liquid... nasty, and a pain to get rid of.

We keep a few different dressings on the sideboard in the dining room, in old, clear wine bottles... it's the "Re-Use" part of green living, and they are a pretty good size both for mixing and for holding a reasonable volume of dressing close by.

Use less miso, or none at all, but in that case you'll need to increase the amount of salt, and probably increase the mustard portion. That's my own taste talking, but I find it's a bit bland without some added beefing up.

If you want a more hearty and robust version of this dressing, substitute sesame oil for a portion of the neutral oil indicated. Be advised that a little goes a LONG way, you can always add a touch more if you like.

With any dressing/vinaigrette, trust your own palate; if you need more acidity, add vinegar, more sweetness to balance the acidity comes from mirin, mustard rounds out the flavor and emulsifies the dressing (this will keep it from separating back into oil and vinegar in the bottle), and salt tastes, well, salty.


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