Spotted: Miso In Dishes Other Than Soup

I will certainly not stop saying amazeballs. Especially when I'm tipped off to the simplest, most awesomely delicious lunches. A friend forwarded me this post entitled "Udon Miso 'n Cheese" from The Perennial Plate, a great longstanding food/video blog. When I saw that photo, I was smitten. I knew I was in for something incredible. Miso could absolutely be the missing link. It's creamy umami. Macaroni and cheese is creamy umami. Could the meeting of these two concepts result in some kind of explosion? Let's find out.

Now I'd love to make homemade noodles as the recipe calls for, but in the spirit of working in an office...well, that's not going to happen. I can't even really make noodles in my kitchen at home. Well, I guess I could turn the 2-person dining table in my 90-square-foot kitchen into a noodle-rolling surface, but that would involve moving a whole lot of stuff off said table. Dried noodles it is.

The recipe calls for a tablespoon each of butter, red miso and parmesan, and a teaspoon of bottarga, a very obscure and not simple at all pressed fish roe you grate over pasta like cheese. Not even I have bottarga in my fridge, and I have some weirdass stuff. Like those pickled pink Vietnamese shallots. Boy, are those tasty in a martini. A tiny (tiny) pinch of bonito flakes will do more or less the same thing: add even more umami (heel, boy!) and just a hint of fresh fishiness that compliments the miso. Combined with a little leftover noodle-boiling water, the butter-miso-cheese trio melts and clings just like Velveeta! That's a lie — it's absolutely nothing like Velveeta. It's everything like the most flavorful take on mac and cheese you've ever tried.

Try different kinds of miso, butter and cheese until you find the right balance of sharpness, salt and creaminess that works for you. I prefer white miso — it's milder and sweeter compared to the bolder, more highly fermented flavor of red. Pecorino can be substituted for parmesan if you're going for more of a Japanese cacio e pepe deal, or you can experiment with miso and any of the classic macaroni cheeses — cheddar, fontina, gruyère. They'll just taste...cheesier. The unicorns called. They want their magic back.

More cool little tricks like that for lunch on Food Republic: