From Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook, Nobu Matsuhisa, Pie Books, 2011.
Nobu’s vegetarian cookbook is an interesting one for several reasons. Firstly, he is not vegetarian but has worked on vegetarian recipes to please those patrons who have requested them. Another reason is that he wants to bring more attention to vegetables that often get scant notice. Lastly, and the most interesting reason for me, is that he wants to introduce more umami—the fifth taste (savoury)—into cooking that does not use meat products. I am not usually attracted to Japanese cooking but this book gained my attention and had me wanting to try some of the recipes.
My first attempt at a Nobu recipe was to make this salad, a very simple one.
First I had to make dry miso. This was done by spreading some miso very thinly on a sheet of baking paper and leaving it to dry. I used a very low oven to do this. When the miso was dry it was crumbled to a grainy texture.
Next a leek had to be cut into rings and fried at a low temperature. When it began to brown it was lifted from the oil and left to drain. It needed a few hours to dried and crisp up.
The salad was put together by gently mixing together baby spinach leaves, some grated Parmesan cheese, the leek, the dried miso, some lime juice (yuzu was called for), truffle oil and some virgin olive oil. A red capsicum was chopped into small pieces and added as a topping when the salad was plated.
This was an amazingly tasty salad. The flavours of each of the ingredients seemed to ring out in the salad. The dry miso had a tang all its own and the capsicum pieces were sweet against the lime and the bitter leaves. A great mix.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔