Heirloom in Vancouver is a classy, hip, and rather expensive vegetarian restaurant ($19 for a veggie burger — really?) which serves an admittedly incredible appetizer called Miso Brassica, described as a “medley of broccoli, cauliflower, and kale – tossed in a miso sauce”. It is heavenly — salty, hearty, and slightly creamy. At $13.95 it’s no bargain, but during their Half-Off Appetizers Happy Hour (4-6PM Monday through Friday), it is!
Still, $7 plus tip is probably overpaying for the dish, regardless of its savoury dreaminess. I am attempting to recreate Miso Brassica at home, and I think I’m getting closer. So far, I’ve made three different sauces for roasted veggies, all with a miso base. The first one’s sauce was too thick and not flavourful enough, the second one had tahini in it and was tasty but not accurate, and the third was my best attempt thus far.
Miso Sauce. What could be in it besides miso paste? My best attempt (pictured above with a variety of veggies that veers from the original dish) had a sauce with miso paste, veggie broth, garlic, and olive oil. It came out a little too watery, not quite oily enough, and a tad too sweet. Plus, Miso Brassica at Heirloom does not have onions. Sean and I adore roasted onions, but to get the right flavour and to cut the sweetness, I’ll omit them for my next attempt.
Now that I’m really thinking about this, I recall a quote by Anthony Bourdain from his book “Kitchen Confidential”:
“In a professional kitchen, we sauté in a mixture of butter and oil for that nice brown, caramelised colour, and we finish nearly every sauce with it (we call this monter au beurre); that’s why my sauce tastes creamier and mellower than yours.”
I love that Mr. Bourdain points out right away that of course, his sauce is better than mine. I’m sure it is, which is why I think butter — or more specifically beurre monté — will be part of my next miso sauce. Thomas Keller, the head chef at The French Laundry in Napa (which Anthony Bourdain deemed “the best restaurant in the world, period”), contributed his recipe for beurre monté on Food and Wine‘s website.
I will report back after Attempt #4!