Mixing miso and butter together creates something like an umami carpet bomb. The intense salty funk of miso combined with the richness of butter makes this extremely simple two-part sauce a powerhouse of savory flavor. Use it to baste fish or meat to get even more umami than the protein provides alone, and the heat from the baste will toast some of the miso, adding another layer of flavor. It’s amazing.
Two of my favorite things to cook with miso butter are summer succotash and cobia. The ‘tash is basically a sautee of everything that is going gangbusters in my garden this time of the year: soybeans, corn, tomatoes, and basil. Add some miso butter and country ham and you are in for a treat.
Second to the succotash is a piece of cobia. This fish has a semi-firm texture, plenty of moisture content, and really benefits from the toasty notes of a little char. Because cobia is somewhat dense and firm, you can treat it more like a steak in a hot pan than a delicate fish that will fall apart with rough handling.
If you’ve ever basted a steak or fish fillet in a pan before, this uses the same technique. You’ll want to add some additional butter to the pan alongside the miso butter (this gives you more melted butter to baste with). The miso will brown and turn dark, so reduce the heat if needed to keep it from burning. The finished fish should have a caramel color, speckled with toasty bits of miso.
Cobia (or other firm to semi-firm fish fillet), 1” thick 2 tbsp. miso butter 2 tbsp. butter, unsalted
- ½ cup miso, white, room temp
- ½ cup butter, unsalted, room temp
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1½ cups tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup corn, cooked
- 1 cup edamame, cooked
- ¼ cup country ham, small dice
- 2 tbsp. miso butter
Also works with
- For the miso butter, make sure both the miso and the butter are at room temperature. Whisk together until evenly mixed. I recommend making a lot of this stuff, it’ll keep in the fridge indefinitely, and you’ll find all kinds of uses for it.
- Very lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. (Use half the amount of salt you would normally use. The miso has plenty of salt in it, so you don't want to overdo it.) Sear the fish on one side over medium-high heat, then flip the fillet over and move the fish to the 12 o’clock position in the pan. Add the miso butter and some straight butter. Tilt the pan so that the melted butters pool up at the 6 o'clock position, and use a spoon to constantly bathe the fillet in the hot butter. Continue this until the internal temperature of the fish reaches about 120°F. Remove from the pan and allow the fish to rest for a few minutes before cutting into it.
- For the succotash, render the ham for a minute or two in a large pan over medium heat, then add onion and garlic, cooking for another minute. Then add the edamame, tomatoes, corn, and miso butter. Stir to evenly coat everything in miso butter. Add the basil right before you kill the heat.