I've had a copy of Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cuisine for, oh, months now. It's another beautiful book put out by DK (Dorling Kindersley) Publishing and written, of course, by Masaharu Morimoto, of both the original Iron Chef series and the American version. And, more importantly, chef and restauranteur and rock star of the Sushi world.
Bill and I were both delighted (okay, Bill would balk at that adjective, I'm sure) when the book came out. As you already know, if you have read this blog for a while, that we both love sushi and Japanese cooking and all sorts of other cuisines from Asia and, heck, everywhere. And we've watched both Iron Chef incarnations for years. My favorite Iron Chef, by the way, from the original series, was "Iron Chef France" - Hiroyuki Sakai. "The Delacroix of French Cuisine." But I digress.
Anyway, I've been wanting to make something from this book for a while - alternatively, I've wanted Bill to make something so I could take the pictures and do the write-up. But for some reason, it just didn't happen. And then, a few weeks ago, just out of curiosity, I took a look at the items in the dessert section of his book. And there I saw a recipe for Red Miso Souffle. Hm. I've been wanting to do some sort of souffle for a while, too. And red miso? Wonder how that would taste in there.
"Red miso makes a souffle that is buttery yet has a unique kick. This is especially delicious served with softened Yuzu Ice Cream as a sauce." writes Morimoto.
Yuzu ice cream? Hm. We have an ice cream maker. Somewhere. In the basement, I think. I flipped a few pages and found that recipe. I could make that, easy.
Okay! I'll make the souffle and the ice cream, just like Morimoto recommends!
I made the ice cream the day before, so it would have time to set up.
And then I made the souffle.
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup red miso
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 whole eggs, separated
6 egg whites
To make the souffle:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 4 8-oz ramekins or individual souffle dishes. (I had 8 small ramekins and a large souffle dish and still had leftover batter for some reason.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the red miso, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the 6 egg yolks. Blend well.
In another large mixing bowl, beat the 12 egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar while continuing to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the beaten whites into the red miso base.
Divide among the ramekins.
Level off the tops with a spatula.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until puffed and just set.
And to serve a souffle, what you're supposed to do (I think I saw Julia Child do this on The French Chef years and years and years ago) is to take two spoons and, holding them back to back, sort of, insert them into the center of the souffle and gently pull the souffle apart.
At this point, I dropped in a scoop of the lemon ice cream, and snapped a picture while it still looked pretty.
That's the thing about souffles, by the way. When Morimoto wrote "serve immediately," he meant IMMEDIATELY. Because in very short time, souffles collapse. And they're just not as pretty any more, and the texture becomes kind of gummy.
And how did it taste, you may be wondering. I'll do my best. The red miso gives the souffle a slightly earthy taste, and reminded me of the way the mash smells when Bill is making beer. Basically, it's a sweet, cooked grain. Kind of like something you'd have for breakfast in winter. Hearty with a touch of sweetness. But not too sweet.
Texture-wise, the souffle is smooth and light and warm and soft.
I liked the souffle best in combination with the ice cream. The cold tartness of the lemon ice cream was a perfect balance against the warm, darker flavored souffle. The contrast of hot and cold in the mouth was interesting and enjoyable, too.
Would I make the souffle again? I don't know. Bill didn't love it, and I wouldn't want to eat a whole vat of it. But - with the lemon ice cream - the red miso souffle woke up my taste buds and made them take notice. So maybe for a party, with people would like to try something new.
And, as I tell my kids, it's always good to try new things.