This month’s At the Market section of the January Bon Appetit focuses on Miso. To be honest, I only know miso from the traditional soup you get at Japanese restaurants, so I was very intrigued to learn more about the mysterious miso. First, what the heck is it exactly? According to Bon Appetit: Miso is fermented paste with a bold, salty flavor. Most of the miso sold in the U.S. is made from soybeans and rice or barley, but it can also be made from brown rice, millet, garbanzo beans, and other beans. It’s also a source of Umami or Savory, aka the fifth flavor, along with Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter. We tried naming the four last night and it was like listing the seven dwarfs, you always manage to forget one no matter how easy it is! If you want an in-depth look at what Umami is, check out the UMAMI Information Center (UIC). Hi yeah, UIC? If you ever need a taste-tester call me, mean it! Also, miso comes in three colors on a range of taste intensity from mellow white, a little bit stronger yellow and the kapow version, red. Naturally, I gravitated towards the red version.
This Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze was well, just genius. You can find miso here in Austin at Whole Foods Market and I got mine for $8. A little pricey but considering the fact that it lasts up to a year in the fridge and now I would like to dollop it on my cereal, I consider it a good investment. I loved the flavors of the sauce: apricot preserves, red miso, Champagne vinegar, orange peel and garlic clove. You slather it on the tenderloin, roast, roast, roast, slather, slather, roast, roast and then let the tenderloin set. While the juices redistribute, you finish off the sauce with simple chicken broth to give it a silky texture and pour all over your pork. I took one bite and might have let out an expletive. This was heavenly and so simple to make. I served on the side with some garlic and soy sauce wok-seared baby bok choy. See, see, I’m still being healthy!
I realize purchasing miso might steer you clear of this dish but lambs, have I ever led you down the wrong path? Oy, I hope not. If you are up for something adventurous give this dish the chance it deserves. I for one know I’m going to experiment more with my red miso. Maybe next time, salmon!