Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Broccolini with wild garlic and miso dressing

I’ve been obsessed with wild garlic this spring and I’ve been cooking with it every chance I get. This time, I made a wild garlic and miso dressing that was so addictive I couldn’t stop eating it by the spoonful; I was getting dangerously close to finishing the whole lot before my boyfriend caught a glimpse of me and reminded me that we needed it for our dinner. Yes, it is that addictive.

It is bright, zingy, pungent and salty, acidic and lemony, garlicky but not overpoweringly so, with a fresh, herby quality from the wild garlic leaves and full of umami flavor from the white miso paste. It wakes up your taste buds and brings to life whatever you choose to pair it with. This time, it was broccolini and it complemented their bittersweet flavor perfectly.

This dressing is an emulsion that resembles freshly made mayonnaise in texture and thickness, but is even more luscious and light, and has a vivid green color to boot. The garlic is in the background, giving a soft garlic flavor and the umaminess of the miso which to me is pure kryptonite, transforms it.

It’s a strong, sharp and lively dressing with a creamy, fluffy and light texture, perfectly smooth and plump, and apart from broccolini, it would also go great with fresh green asparagus or plain broccoli. It would also be the ideal sauce to dollop over a piece of pan-fried salmon as the sharpness of the sauce offsets the sweetness and fattiness of the fish.

It would also be wonderful in a fish sandwich, with fried fish or seafood, or with bakaliaro (the Greek salt cod fritters) as a skordalia substitute.


P.S. If you too are wild garlic fiends, try these wild garlic flaky flatbreads and of course this tzatziki.

Broccolini with wild garlic and miso dressing

Serve this dish as a light lunch with some good bread, or serve it alongside a grilled piece of fish or chicken for your main meal of the day.

Broccolini are a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli. They are among my favorite vegetables because they are versatile and can be used in many dishes like this ultra Spring-y dish of tortiglioni pasta with ricotta and lemon zest, and in these bruschette. Their flavor is similar to that of broccoli but sweeter, milder and more tender, and they remind me a bit of green asparagus as well in flavor.

And if you like miso, here is another dressing I have used it in.

Yield: 2 servings as salad / 1 cup dressing

200 g broccolini

for the dressing
30 g (1½ Tbsp) white miso paste (shiro miso)
10 g wild garlic, leaves picked and rinsed well (about 15 small leaves)
4 tsp (20 ml) water
5 Tbsp (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, 5-6 turns of the pepper mill

Special equipment: colander, small food processor

Rinse the broccolini under cold running water and trim the ends if needed.
Add them to a pot of boiling water and boil with the lid off so they retain the bright green color, and boil them until soft but not mushy or disintegrating as you want them to have some texture. How long this will take depends on the thickness of the broccolini. It may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Drain them in a colander and leave them to cool.

make the dressing
In the bowl of your food processor, add the miso, water and wild garlic leaves and process until smooth. Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and process to emulsify. Then add another tablespoon of the oil and process again to emulsify. Add a third tablespoon of oil and 1 Tbsp of the lemon juice and process again. Add the rest 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, the rest ½ Tbsp of lemon and the black pepper, and process again. This is done, gradually, in order for the dressing to emulsify properly and have a smooth and fluffy mayonnaise-like sauce. Give it a taste and add more lemon if you wish.

Arrange the broccolini in a platter. Don’t season them as the saltiness of the dressing is adequate. Add 1 Τbsp of dressing and toss gently. Add more sauce depending on your personal taste.

The remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge. The second day it still has a fluffy texture, but not as much as the first day, yet the flavor is even better!


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