So I had a little remaining Nobu Style Saikyo Miso. What to do? Flipping through Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, I came across the recipe for “Patty Pan Squash With Spicy Vegetables”. I’d been thinking about doing this dish for a while; and evidently, someone else on the web had already tried it with mixed results (see http://lalasrecepies.blogspot.com/2011/07/january-youre-kidding.html). Although I was unable to locate a source for patty pan squash in the Boston area, I still wanted to try the Spicy Shallot Pepper Miso sauce. So I thought I’d gather together some yellow squash (diced up to stand in for the patty pan squash), zucchini, red onions, yellow and red bell peppers. I also needed to get some shallots, tobanjang (THE chili bean paste), lime juice, and cubeb peppercorns. It wasn’t a problem getting the tobanjang; but finding the cubeb peppercorns (which aren’t the same as everyday black peppercorns) was a little bit of a hassle; I had to search around a bit for the ingredient. Fortunately, I was able to find them at the Allston/Brighton Whole Foods.
The spicy shallot pepper miso is a mix of:
6 finely diced shallots
2 garlic cloves (finely diced – although I think I’d rely on grating the garlic in the future)
2 tsp of toasted ground cubeb peppercorns
3 tbls nikiri sake soy (that’s 2 tbls of evaporated sake+1 tbls soy)
2 tbls+1 tsp + 1/2 t of Nobu Style Saikyo Miso
1 tsp tobanjang (chili bean paste)
juice of 3 limes (which I’ve found to be about 3 oz of lime juice)
Although Nobu intended the vegetables with the spicy shallot pepper miso as party/finger food, I thought I’d match those strong flavors with a nice pan fried fish fillet. So after making the sauce, I thought I’d prepare the vegetables in the following way –
1. I’d carefully clean the zucchini, and then use a vegetable peeler to strip the outer green layer and then dice the peels (the original recipe calls for only using the outer green portion, diced) and then dice up the zucchini and yellow squash.
2. Once I got the zucchini/squash out of the way, I proceeded to dice up the red onion and the bell peppers.
3. When all the cutting was done, the zucchini and squash went into simmering water for 4 minutes, drained added the uncooked diced up vegetables (including the finely diced red onion).
4. To the mixed vegetables, I’d mix in 6 tablespoons of the spicy shallot pepper miso and then carefully mixed the whole thing together. On initial tasting after I prepared the vegetables, I did get a very strong aftertaste of the cubeb peppers in the sauce. The recipe in the cookbook comments that if the vegetable weren’t going to be served right away, then the vegetables should be kept in a warming oven. So I decide to steam the vegetables (covered) a for a little bit (about 10 minutes). I retasted the vegetables and the sharp bite of the cubeb pepper and red onions had mellowed.
Since I was doing the vegetables with the spicy shallot pepper miso from Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, I thought, “why not pair it with the pompano that also mentioned from the same book?”. So while I was at Whole Foods, Newtonville, I also got 2 fillets of pompano for my wife and I. I dried the fillets and seasoned them with 4:1 salt/pepper mix. The fillets went into a hot wok with rice oil, skin side down first on high heat (then reduced to 50% max) for about 3 minutes, using a spatula to make sure the skin stayed in contact with the cooking surface. I then flipped the fish over and cooked it for about 2 minutes more. To finish making dinner, I spooned out the vegetables onto the plates as a circular bed for the fish and then placed the fish on top.
The meal turned out reasonably well. If I had to do this re-arranged version of the vegetables with the spicy shallot pepper miso, I think I’d dice up the squash vegetables, mix in the sauce and then steam that mix together and THEN add the bell peppers, red onions and zucchini peel. My wife liked the meal enough to ask if we could have it again.