The Kitchen Workshop: Preserving the Japanese Way with Nancy Singleton Hachisu

9781449450885On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly (the publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley) speaks with Nancy Singleton Hachisu, the author of Japanese Farm Food and the new book Preserving the Japanese Way.

Nancy and Mary talked about Japanese pickling and preserving. Nancy shared her method for making miso and discussed where to find good miso, if you’re not making your own.

Learn more about Nancy’s books and appearances at nancysingletonhachisu.com.

Find miso and and koji at South River Miso, and many Japanese ingredients at Gold Mine Natural Foods.

Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe for miso squid with us. Find it below.

Miso Squid – Ika No Misozuke

Serves 6

We are fortunate to have a constant supply of very fresh squid in Japan. If you have any doubts about the freshness of your squid, you might want to perform a boiling water–ice bath operation a couple of times by pouring a stream of boiling water over the squid for 10 seconds, then plunging in a bowl of ice water to refresh (yudoshi). Also squid is one sea creature that does not suffer much from freezing, so frozen squid is an alternative to fresh. Miso tends to burn, thus low-ember coals or far away from the broiler is best. Squid stands up to the miso and the long, slow cook more than fish, as its surface is naturally taut and becomes slightly caramelized. Utterly delectable as a before-dinner snack or appetizer. Also excellent cold the following day.

5 small fresh squid (about pound/150 g each)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon sake

4 tablespoons brown rice or barley miso

1 to 2 small dried red chiles, sliced into fine rings

Position a cutting board immediately to the left of the kitchen sink. Set the bag of squid directly behind the board and a wire-mesh strainer in the sink itself. Remove the squid from the bag and lay them on the board. Gently dislodge the inner gastric sacs from the bodies by running your finger around the perimeter of the inside body walls and pull the sac out in one piece. Reserve the sacs and some of the meat for making shiokara, if you like, otherwise, toss into the strainer for later composting. Stick your finger inside the body and pull out the plastic-like stick, called the gladius and set the bodies in the sink to wash.

Pat the squid bodies well with a clean dish towel. Drape across a dinner plate, and sprinkle all sides with the salt. Stash in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours uncovered.

Muddle the sake into the miso and spread over both surfaces of the squid bodies with a small rubber scraper; smooth around the tentacles (still attached at the top) with your fingers. Return the squid to the refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours more for a deep, dark taste. Grill slowly over low-ember coals or on a rack set in the third slot from the top of an oven broiler for about 5 minutes on each side. Julienne and eat as is for a before-dinner snack.

VARIATION: The laconic gentleman who hid behind dark glasses at the Wajima air-dried fish place parted with his favorite way to make squid: Marinate in soy sauce for 30 minutes and grill. Simple. I like to serve it with a squeeze of yuzu or Meyer lemon.

From Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

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