Miso is a fermented, soybean paste, dating back to seventh century Japan.
Miso begins with a grain, usually rice or barley, which is then inoculated with mold spores. These molded grains, koji, are combined with soybeans and sea salt, and then pakced into wooden barrels, where the mixture ferments for anywhere from three months to three years. Indeed, the various types of miso owe their differences to the length of the fermentation period. The fermentation temperature, the proportion of koji to soybean, and the type of grain also influence the miso product.
Rice miso (kome miso), barley miso (mugi miso), and soybean miso (hatcho miso) form the three basic categories of miso. These groups are subdivied into lighter misos and darker misos. The lighter misos are sweeter and contain less salt than their darker counterparts – a result of a shorter fermentation process. Hatcho miso, which is pure soybean, is the darkest of the three misos, and the miso most commonly used for miso soup.
Today, miso is no longer exclusive to Japan. An increasing number of contemporary American recipes now incoporate the paste in bases, dressings, marinades, and sauces. There are even miso farms here in the United States.
Broiled Halibut with Miso Glaze
Recipe from Nina Simonds.
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 6-ounce fillets of Halibut, bones and skin removed (I used Alaskan wild)
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
2 tablespoons mirin (or any sweet white wine, if unavailable)
3 tablespoons miso (preferably rice miso)
Vegetable oil for greasing
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ginger, mirin, and miso, and mix until smooth. Rub the mixture on both sides of the fillet. Place the fish in a plastic bag, along with the remaining marinade, and marinate for 30 to 90 minutes.
2. Preheat your broiler to high.
3. Grease a broiling pan with the vegetable oil. Broil the fillets for about 8 minutes, flipping half-way through. The fillet should be flaky and the glaze brown and bubbling when done.
*I recently made this dish with Sea Bass instead of Halibut. I kept the recipe exactly the same and the Sea Bass was just as great as the Halibut!