Friday, August 24, 2007

Pork chop and sake-miso sauce

One of my favorite templates for a sauce is the one used in Mark Bittman's The Minimalist Cooks Dinner for "Pork Cutlet with Miso-Red Wine Sauce" (past variations on this dish can be found here, here and here). Mixing a cup of liquid and two tablespoons of miso is ridiculously easy, and the taste when one is done is excellent and downright complex in some cases (depending on the specific ingredients).

Saturday night I tried a new variation. My one "complaint" with this recipe is that it makes a lot of sauce, so this time I halved the amounts to half a cup of sake and one tablespoon of white miso. The sake I used was Momokawa's Ruby sake, a type that straddles the line between sweet and dry (leaning ever so slightly over into the "sweet" camp). As the sauce was reducing, I added about a tablespoon of unsalted butter and some shredded sweet basil leaves from the garden. This was poured over an inch-thick pork chop that had been liberally seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper, then pan-seared on both sides. I served the pork chop with some leftover homemade bread from last Friday's dinner at Lala's house; the bread had been intended to be French bread but it turned out lighter than that. I reasoned that it should still be good for sopping up the sauce (and even better than noodles or pasta for that purpose).

The results were excellent, one of the best versions of this recipe family that I've had yet. The sauce was rich but not overly heavy, the thick pork chop stood up to the sauce admirably, and the not-so-French bread made sure no drop of sauce went to waste. Well, ok, not all of the miso was totally taken into the sauce (you can see the lumps in the photo), but the infusion of butter, while doubtlessly not necessary, did a great job of smoothing the flavors out. The basil added that little extra zing.


Anonymous said...

Sake-miso on pork chops sounds awesome. Thanks for the recipe. I'm wondering how sweet the sake gets when it's reduced. I'll have to try.

PS: I saw your blog and wondered with the 7 kinds, if you think El Cheapo soy sauce is the best? It's sold only in Dubai, and that's the nickname...ironic given the outrageous price. The real name is L' Chepeau.

I think it's waaaay to expensive...and a rip-off, but I can't afford to try...nor would anyone in their right mind.

Winslow said...

I think the sweetness of the reduced sake depends on how sweet or dry the sake is to start with. I tend to prefer my sake on the dry side, so the final sauce isn't overly sweet; using a sweet sake would definitely change the result, though. I've made the sauce with sweet sherry, and the richness is overwhelming by comparison (but not bad as an occasional hedonistic treat).

I'm not sure that El Cheapo soy sauce is for real, but even if it is, I think both it and Dubai are well above my price point! :)