As much as I love fall, (and I DO!) I also whole heartedly resist the implied expectation that it is now time to cook apple stuff and pumpkin things. Don’t get me wrong, I adore apple things and pumpkin stuff, it’s just that I may or may not be a tad contrarian in nature, so that if a thing is expected, it just might be a thing not done. At least until I feel like it. Is that bad?
So this is not a pumpkin thing and it certainly isn’t apple stuff, but what it is is so genuinely delicious that it defies seasonality. Which, in some way, I think, makes it sort of even perhaps significant. Well, it’s kind’ve become significant in the Circle B Kitchen anyway. We’ve eaten it a whole bunch of times in recent months and because we’re going to be eating it a whole bunch of times more, I just thought you might want to get in on the fun.
And fun it is! It starts with a couple packages of ramen noodles (we're not going to be using that "flavor" packet). I’ve tried this with your garden variety ramen (Top Ramen) and they worked fine, but the noodles seemed to be less sturdy than I might have liked, and I’ve tried it with Chinese noodles that are made in the style of ramen, and they worked pretty well. I got them at an Asian store in town and proceeded to read the product description to see if they were what I was looking for. The description read exactly…
“This product is uses must fries in oil the noodles which the bread flour, the egg precision work become, suits the modern life fast to boil the good food, boils, fries the hot pot, to swell may.”
So I was like, OK! Cool! That sounds perfect! Now, how do I cook them? It advised… “Boil well the favorite flavored soup or water put the noodles into pot to cook for 1-2 minutes after water boiling.”
Got it. Of course, I followed the directions exactly as written and came out with a pretty good ramen-type noodle. But my favorite ramen noodle is this one...
I should mention that I adore ramen noodles, and am not nearly as discriminating as this post might lead one to believe. We’re just talking in relative terms here, so use whatever ramen noodle you can get your hands on.
The original recipe which inspired this dish is from Jeff Mauro of The Kitchen. His version placed our miso-glazed salmon on top of a cold ramen noodle salad, which I’m sure was quite good. I was just more in the mood for a warm-ish type ramen noodle experience, so that’s what we have here and I have to say it came out pretty darn tasty.
But the salmon really is the star of this dish, owing to the miso glaze which is so incredibly good that you’re going to want to pour it on your ice cream and slather it on your toast in the morning. I’m not even kidding.
Now, I think we need to talk about the elephant in the room here. And by elephant, I mean miso. Many of you may already have a tub or two of the stuff in your fridge which you use fairly often, but if you haven’t boarded the miso train just yet, hang with me for a minute, cuz it really is pretty amazing stuff.
(These are two misos that I use most often)
I don’t want this to be the kind of thing where you buy this tub of miso for one recipe and then it sits in the back of your fridge to wither and rot until you’re happy to just toss it out. No, people, miso paste is a very friendly, very tasty and super versatile ingredient. It’s also really really good for you and ups the healthy quotient of just about anything you might use it for.
And what might that be, you ask? Well, besides this lovely glaze for our salmon, you could and should add miso to your salad dressings, marinades, soups, meatballs, meatloaf, sauces, gravies, and just about anywhere a bit of rich umami might enhance the flavor of your dish. It’s best friends with mushrooms and soups of all kinds.
The lighter (white and yellow) misos can even be used as a sub for dairy in some things. Here’s a little link to some more miso info if you’d like some ideas for how to use it. And you can read a little more here about all of the health benefits of miso. Miso for President! (Although, there might be a bit of an issue there with not being born in the U.S.)
This recipe is fairly easy and straightforward and ultimately delicious, and if you end up with leftover noodles (I often make extra), they’re SO good for lunch the next day in some miso soup.
Here’s how I make it… ½ cup of chicken or vegetable broth, 1 ½ cups water, 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons miso, 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Heat it through and add some veggies or tofu, cilantro, green onions or spinach. Warm through and enjoy with or without noodles. (Just a disclaimer here... real authentic miso soup is quite a bit more involved, and includes dashi and other Japanese components and procedures. This is my quick and easy, down and dirty version that I really like).
Alrighty then, folks, procure yourself some miso (most stores carry the stuff now) and go forth to create flavor, umami, fun and deliciousness. Here’s the recipe…
Miso-Glazed Salmon with Ramen Noodles
Recipe adapted from The Kitchen (Jeff Mauro)
This is one of those recipes that you can easily adapt to your own tastes and have fun with. That's exactly what I did with Jeff Mauro's recipe in which he made a cold noodle salad with the ramen. I preferred a warm ramen dish, so that's what I created here. If you'd like to check out Jeff's recipe, I've provided a link below. The recipe calls for red miso, but any miso you have will work great here. That miso glaze on the salmon is simply killer! If by chance you have any ramen noodles left over, they're so good in miso soup for lunch the next day!
2 packages (6-7 oz) instant ramen noodles (discard the flavor pack)
1/2 cup red miso (or any miso you have on hand)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
1 cup chicken broth
About 2/3 cup store-bought Asian sesame dressing (or homemade, recipe below)
One 8-ounce bag shredded cabbage mix (red and green cabbage plus carrots)
Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Thinly sliced scallion greens, for garnish
Position a rack in the middle of the oven (about 7 inches from the broiler) and preheat to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the miso, honey, and 1/4 cup of the Asian dressing in a small bowl. Season with salt if necessary. Liberally brush both sides of the salmon with the miso glaze and place on the prepared baking sheet and broil on the middle rack until the fish is browned and the flesh is opaque, about 8 to 9 minutes (don't overcook!).
While the salmon is cooking, mix together the peanut butter, lime juice, 3/4 cups of the chicken broth and 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the Asian dressing and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil in a saute pan and add the shredded cabbage mix. Saute just until the cabbage has begun to soften, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Cook the ramen noodles (minus the seasoning packs) according to the package instructions (I boil them for a bit less time than called for to make sure the noodles don't get soggy). Drain and add to the cabbage mixture in the pan. Stir in the peanut-butter-Asian dressing mixture and toss to coat thoroughly, adding more chicken broth if needed to make a good sauce.
Divide the ramen noodles between 4 shallow bowls and top with a piece of the cooked salmon. Garnish with a liberal sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and scallion greens.
Asian Sesame Dressing:
While this dressing is super good on any Asian-type salad, it also makes a great marinade for fish or chicken or a wondrous dressing for veggies!
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons sriracha sauce or to taste
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small jar and shake to mix well.