Wanted to share a Tofu Appetizer I made this weekend. I learned about it first at a friend's get together where I'll eventually post pics of on a future Japan Files post (house parties!).
I haven't made this in a while and since I already know I would tweak things differently next time around I will comment about it while writing.
Aside from the Tofu, the three other main ingredients are Mozzarella Cheese, Myoga and the Red "Hatcho" Miso for the dressing. Toasted sesame seeds at the end.
You might have come across these lovely looking buds in the refrigerated produce section of your local Japanese grocer..
It is the Myoga (wiki artical here) and though they grow like weeds in my mother's garden, here they will cost me up to $2 a pop! Still its distinctive floral and crisp flavors are so wonderful that I time to time find them in my shopping basket (and my meals).
The Tofu I used was the medium-firm Momen. While I have used the softer Kinugoshi in the past, the bit firmer Momen with less water content and stronger tofu flavor I feel is better suited for this. Cut the tofu in half (so to make two stubby pieces) and place in an ovenproof dish. (This makes 3~4 servings.)
Since it was straight out of the fridge and quite cold, I microwaved it with a plastic wrap for about a minute or so. This also helps extract some excess water which should be poured out.
I sliced the Myoga in half on a sharp bias. Although slightly undercooked Myoga never bothered me much (since it is often eaten raw) I would cut it on an even steeper bias than what is shown below or simply cut it in thirds so that the bulbs are thinner and less meaty to help cook through.
The slices rest on a bed of grated Mozzarella Cheese. Next time I will use even more cheese with some sprinkled on top of the Myoga as well. The sweet miso dressing is basically to taste but my guess in the ratio of ingredients I used is about 1-Hatcho Miso, 0.8-Honey, 0.5-Sake, 0.5-Water and 0.25-Mirin.
If you have a favorite Dengaku recipe I'm sure that is perfectly fine. You just want something with a syrupy consistency so to pour over. And since the red Hatcho is a rather strong Miso you probably want it to be on the sweet side.
Like I said I would've added more cheese at this point. I have a small convection toaster oven where I set it at 300-degrees F for about 20 minutes.
Since I already warmed the tofu, basically making sure to cook off all the alcohol in the miso dressing is the biggest thing. If you want to be sure you can slowly simmer the miso concoction in a small sauce pan prior to using. Otherwise watching to not burn the Myoga and cheese too much is all you have to keep an eye out for. Toasted sesame seeds goes on top before serving and the dish is best eaten right away while hot.
A photo of the inspirational version my friends had made..
Yep, definitely more cheese and the Myoga looks cooked through better. Next time I will cut it thinner. Still this dish is relatively hard to mess up.
Now if only the price of Myoga would come down....