March 08, 2023

Miso Rosato Cabbage Salad

Close up of glossy Miso Cabbage Salad with a Japanese teapot and tea cup in the background

My father was born in Hawai'i and that, along with the fact that I'm a Californian, means that ingredients and techniques across cultures of the Pacific Rim were freely shared and adapted in my food history. Although not Asian, Donald grew up close to Oakland Chinatown so shopped the local market routinely and incorporated Chinese cooking techniques into his regular "European" repertoire as a matter of course. His audition to teach at a cooking school in the 1990s was a stir fry in his well-seasoned 30 year old wok, in fact. [The wok is now in its 5th decade of service.] The way we've cooked and enjoyed food at home was "fusion" well before W. Puck and JG Vongerichten popularized the notion.

Today, he avails himself to condiments that sometimes surprise me when balancing fat, acid, salt, and heat. I am huge fan of cabbage (sautéed, in coleslaw, etc.), and last week was surprised at dinner with a version using miso shiro, which contributed a umami-rich saltiness, and Rosato Balsamic Vinegar, which added a sweet fruity note of acidity.

He's made this recipe twice, and I'll attest that it's a new favorite. I hope you like it! - Liz

    Miso Cabbage Instructions

    3 Tbs. Rosato Balsamic Vinegar (Bianco, a bit less sweet, works too)

    1 ½ Tbs. white miso

    1 ½  tsp. sugar

    Chili flakes or your favorite hot sauce to taste (optional)

    6 Tbs. Lucero EVOO

    12 oz red cabbage (about ½ small head)

    3 oz shredded carrot (1 small carrot)

    1 Tbs white sesame seeds 

    • Shred the cabbage and carrot very thinly on a mandolin or with a food processor shredder attachment and set aside.
    • Heat a pan on medium heat and add the sesame seeds to the dry pan. Toast them in the pan while carefully watching to make sure they don’t burn until they turn a light golden color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the seeds into a small bowl and set aside.
    • Combine the first 4 ingredients, then whisk in the oil a little bit at a time to create the miso dressing emulsion.
    • Mix shredded cabbage and carrot with the miso dressing until well combined.
    • After plating, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds from a good height for even coverage.

    This dressing can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator. The USDA recommends up to 2 weeks for homemade vinaigrettes. The salad serves 4 to 6 people as a side dish and holds well in the refrigerator for an hour or two if you'd like to prepare it ahead of time. If enjoying as leftovers (yes!) I found it delicious the next day, however, do note that some of the nuttiness and nuance is lost when chilled through. This recipe will be more fully appreciated at room temperature.

    Bonus Recipe

    Donald usually buys a whole chicken and uses various parts throughout the week, ending with a chicken stock, however, sometimes will take advantage of a special value, in this instance a pack of boneless and skinless thighs from the market. Here's what he served for dinner with the miso cabbage salad.

    Teriyaki chicken, broccoli and miso cabbage shown in foreground with rice and tea in the back.

    Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

    1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (approx 4 small thighs)

    2 Tbs EVOO (more if necessary depending on the size of the pan the chicken is cooked in)

    1 Tbs white sesame seeds

    ¼ cup mirin

    2 Tbs shoyu (soy sauce)

    1 Tbs sugar

    2 tsp grated fresh ginger

    • Whisk sauce ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved 
    • Marinate the chicken thighs in this for about 20 minutes
    • Remove the chicken to a plate and save the sauce for the cooking process 
    • Heat a pan on medium heat and add the sesame seeds to the dry pan. Toast them in the pan while carefully watching to make sure they don’t burn until they turn a light golden color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the seeds into a small bowl and set aside. 
    • Heat the pan and add the olive oil. Heat the oil on medium until it shimmers. Do not let it get to the smoking stage. Add the chicken and fry in the oil until well caramelized on one side. Turn over and cook the other side until it is also well caramelized. This will take about 5 minutes per side. Watch carefully as the sugar in this sauce is apt to burn. Take the chicken out and keep warm. 
    • Add the reserved sauce to the pan and reduce until it is glossy and has a syrup consistency. 
    • Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the reserved toasted  sesame seeds
    • Serve with rice.