pan-roasted asparagus poached egg & miso butter (pg. 90)

I was excited to put this dish together.  This was my first time cooking with miso.  My experience has been limited to miso soup and the eggplant with miso glaze appetizer often overlooked at Japanese restaurants.  I’ll probably get around to trying both of those with the extra miso sitting in the fridge.

Making the miso butter is fairly straightforward: measure and mix (first allow the butter to come to room temperature).

Mix the Miso and butter

Big butter streaks.. maybe it wasn’t quite at room temperature.  Switched to a different bowl so I could really get some good elbow magic.  As you can see, it gets better, but not quite there yet.

A few more turns and it was done.

With the miso butter set aside, it was time for the main dish.  These asparagus are probably a little thicker than those served in the restaurant.  I would say these were on the medium to thick side of things.

For those who are asparagus stalk snappers, I recommend an article by Harold McGee (The Curious Cook) in the NY Times.  If you choose to follow that, please leave a comment and let me know the results.

I moved ahead with snapping.  Notice the nice blister on the base of the thumb, a product of the pork belly roasting pan from six weeks prior!  It’s a dangerous hobby…

Peel the outer edges.

With all the prep completed, it’s fairly straightforward recipe.  Heat up so unsalted butter, not the miso butter.  It’s a little difficult to capture the first wisp of smoke.

It’s important not to shake the pan, just let the asparagus roast on one side and flip over to the other.  I’ve been told that David Chang doesn’t allow his cooks to use tongs, so i flipped it with a spatula.  Btw: if anyone can confirm this, I’d appreciate it.  The Bo Ssam is served with mini tongs…

While the asparagus is finishing up, take a few moments to heat up the miso butter with some sherry vinegar.  A couple tsp of sherry and the butter.

The miso butter loosens up a bit.  There’s time enough for this while the asparagus are draining on a paper towel.

And now it’s time to put it all together.  Plating it a similar to the photo on pg. 91.  Miso butter, roasted asparagus, slow-poached egg (from the prior post) and a few turns of pepper.

And the oozing of the slow poached egg.

For my palate, the miso butter was a little overpowering.  Miso has such a distinct flavor and powerful profile that it will be tasted differently by individuals.  It has a similar impact as chiles in a spice profile.  I could see friends discussing the amount of miso similar to other powerful spices or how much milk to put in coffee.  Next time I will adjust the ratio of butter to miso differently to tone done the strength.

Overall, this dish is simple and elegant.  Qualities alone that entice me to make it again.  The creaminess of the slow-poached egg could make any vegetable divine.  I wonder if the creamy yolk would improve on a Caesar salad or carbonara…


8 Responses to “pan-roasted asparagus poached egg & miso butter (pg. 90)”

  1. 1 Joe R February 12, 2010 at 12:06 am

    chris – looks good as always – almost looks like a different take on asparagus and hollandaise sauce

    as to your question, i’ve prepped asparagus all sorts of ways – snapping, cutting, snapping and then cutting (i.e., snap one in the bunch and then cut the rest a little above that line). to be honest, i haven’t noticed that much of a difference between the two techniques in terms of fibrous stalks – there always seems to be a few overly fibrous stalks in every bunch (although, not as much in the pencil thin ones). i’m also not sure if cooking method affects the toughness or not – i tend to either grill them (70% of the time) or boil for 2 mins and let them finish steaming with a little olive oil after they’ve been drained.

    with that said, i usually just snap them (unless i’m in a rush, then i’ll use the snap and cut)

  2. 3 Auldo February 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I know that in Japan they sell different kinds of ‘fresh’ miso. Miso is fermented, but there is a difference between the ones Oriental shops sell outside of Japan and the ‘real’ stuff.

    I think the mass produced stuff is more pungent.

    • 4 chrisdenoia February 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      Do you have any brands in mind? As a beginner in the Asian markets, I’m pretty happy if I can find the ingredients. Luckily, there is always someone there to translate the labels and make a recommendation.
      – Chris

  3. 5 R. March 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I’m sure David picked up “not using tongs” from his days at Craft. Tom/Damon are VERY opposed to using tongs as it will destroy the product you are handling.


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