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Miso, miso, miso!

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I know, I know. Sad pun on Jan Brady's cry, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" - and boy it shows my age, doesn't it? Regardless, I love anything to do with miso, and from your first taste on, I think you will too. Miso is a spice that is fermented rice, barley and/or soy beans. It is something like soy sauce but much deeper in flavor. It has been gaining popularity everywhere since Chef Morimoto has been gracing the networks. To start you out gently, though, here is a great recipe using miso paste. I toned it down a little with hints of ginger and brown sugar. I think you will enjoy this dish with pickled ginger and plain rice.

Bay scallops with miso glaze

This is a simple dish inspired by my favorite chef, Masaharu Morimoto. An Asian touch on seafood is not only very aromatic, but the sweet with the salty is all the rage everywhere now. So instead of making that chocolate-covered bacon to satisfy this itch, try my recipe using a touch of the Orient. If you don't want to buy a whole bottle of saki, Shaoxing wine, dry vermouth, white wine or dry sherry will do the trick.

  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sake (add more to thin the sauce if you like)
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh minced ginger*
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk together the miso paste, sake, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and chili paste, salt and pepper either by hand or in a blender. Place in a saucepan and heat almost to scalding, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while preparing scallops.

In a large, heavy bottom skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. When the butter is hot and frothy, add the scallops, but don't overcrowd the pan. You may need to cook the scallops in batches. Let the scallops lightly brown 1-2 minutes or until just done. Ladle a bit of sauce on four plates or one large platter. When the scallops are done you will set the scallops on the sauce and pass around the remainder of the Miso Glaze.

*Substitute 1-1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger if necessary

Serves 4.

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