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.