I hate to start this way, but I have a small confession to make. I broke a very important miso-related rule in the making of this Wild Mushroom Miso Risotto. I’m sorry. But I’m also not really sorry because this risotto was freaking delicious (it made delicious arancini, too), but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The rule I broke is one held in high esteem by health nuts and miso soup purists alike: Thou shalt not cook miso. Apparently, you should only add the miso to dashi (a Japanese stock made from kombu and katsuobushi) after it has cooled slightly. This technique preserves the good-for-you active cultures found in miso paste as well as the flavour. Weeell, I definitely didn’t do that. I held true to traditional risotto recipes and left my broth (in this case, miso soup) simmering as I slowly added it to my rice. Basically, I left my miso paste simmering in hot dashi for roughly 20 minutes – those cultures were not just dead, they were dead dead.
Anyway, if you care more about your health than I clearly do, you may not want to leave your miso soup simmering? But then again, the miso is still going into the hot risotto pot, so it’s hard to find a happy ending for those poor cultures… BUT I’m happy to report the flavour of the miso did not seem in anyway altered by it’s prolonged exposure to heat, but then again I am by no means a miso specialist (sommelier?). Anyway, that’s the skinny on my most recent foodie sin, we now return to our regular scheduled programming. Thank you for your patience.
It may seem like I’m over reaching for that quirky foodie factor with this recipe, but I genuinely wanted to make this Wild Mushroom Miso Risotto to see if A. it would work and B. if it would taste good. The answer to both was yes, so apparently Italian and Japanese food get along famously, who knew? And the risotto was not the only place the two cuisines complimented each other perfectly.
You may have noticed the sunny, yellow shavings scattered atop the risotto; those are cured egg yolk shavings. Cure egg yolks are maybe the best thing that has ever happened to me… culinarily speaking, of course. Basically you pack egg yolks in salt and sugar and let them be for 48 hours before unearthing them. There’s room for other flavourings as well. I added porcini powder (a member of the Italian food camp) and perilla (a member from the Japanese food camp), a herb I discovered and fell in love with while trying to become half-way decent at cooking Korean food. As with the risotto, the Italian and Asian ingredients worked very well together.
I feel I should warn you, the Wild Mushroom Miso Risotto takes a while to pull together – what with curing the egg yolks for two days – but it is worth the wait.
Serve it with sake and try not to have your mind blown. Enjoy!
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 3/4 cups kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons porcini mushroom powder**
- Large bundle of fresh perilla
- 30g pack of dried wild mushrooms
- 1 cup luke warm water
- 5 cups instant dashi
- 3 tablespoons white (shiro) miso paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup sake
- Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling.
- **To make mushroom powder, simply grind up a pack of dried porcini mushrooms in a food processor or coffee grinder.
- Place salt, sugar, perilla and porcini powder in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Pour half of the salt, sugar mixture into a small casserole dish in an even layer.
- Using the back of a tablespoon, make four yolk-size indents in the salt, sugar mixture.
- Gently place yolks in the indents and carefully cover them with the remaining salt, sugar mixture. Mark the location of each egg yolk with a peppercorn and wrap the casserole dish loosely with plastic wrap.
- Leave the egg yolks in the fridge for 48 hours.
- When the 48 hours is up, carefully remove the egg yolks from the salt, sugar mixture and place them on a cooling rack.
- Pop the egg yolks in a 150 F oven for an hour and a half.
- Place finished egg yolks in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Cured egg yolks will keep for up to a month.
- Place dried mushrooms in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add thewarm water and leave the mushrooms to reconstitute for at least 20 minutes or for up to an hour.
- Once the hour is up, drain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
- Prepare the dashi according to the package's instructions. Reduce dashi to a simmer and stir in the reserved mushroom water and miso paste. Leave to simmer.
- In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add rice and reconstituted mushrooms to the pot and stir until the rice begins to crackle.
- While stirring constantly, add sake and cook until there is almost no moisture left.
- Add just enough miso soup to the rice to barely cover it. Cook, stirring constantly, until the soup has almost disappeared.
- From here, add a ladle or two of the miso soup to the rice at a time, until the soup is gone and rice is smooth and creamy with a slight bite. Remove from heat.
- Garnish the risotto with sesame seeds and grated cured egg yolk.
- Serve immediately.