Can Nobu-style Saikyo Miso be frozen?
I'm about to make up a batch (sake, mirin, shiro miso, and sugar) and only use a small portion. I know that it can be kept in the fridge, but for how long? Would it keep better if it were frozen? What say y'all?
Sake, mirin, and miso are all fermented products, and sugar just helps things ferment. I see no reason why the mixture would not be stable if refrigerated for a very long time. The alcohol content will make it difficult to freeze, or at least difficult to freeze solid. I have what was originally a one kilo package of now "vintage" white miso in my refrigerator that I have been working on for six years now, and it's still excellent miso. Last week I made a scallops with miso on fettuccine dish that was terrific. Miso isn't just for soup! '-)
Dear bushwickgirl and Caroline1,
Thank you for your thoughtful replies. What I would like to do is make up a big batch of the sable/butterfish/black cod marinade and then freeze it in portions. Based on your responses, I think that it might work because I boil off the alcohol as the first step in preping the marinade.
Caroline1: may we learn your scallops/miso/pasta recipe? Sounds great! Do you think it would work with the finished marinade too?
Oh oh.... I'm one of those technique/ingredients cooks and it's been several days since I made it, but as I recall.... '-)
Slice some diver scallops cross-ways in halves or thirds, depending on how thick they are. Sear them quickly in drawn butter and remove to a COLD plate (you do not want them to continue cooking). Add a bit more drawn butter to pan if needed and lightly saute some sliced green onions (white and green parts) or a diced shallot or two (depends on whether you're leaning in an Asian direction or not), then add a good tablespoon of miso, stir to smooth out a bit then add some booze (mirin, sake, Shao Xing or white vermouth all work just fine) and enough chicken broth to bring to a creamy consistency. Simmering smooths out the sauce and you need to simmer long enough to determine how thick the sauce will be. During the simmer add herbs/seasonings of choice. I make this every few weeks or so and have found thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, basil or tarragon work well individually or sometimes in combination. A tablespoon or so of capers is a nice addition, as are halved artichoke hearts or pickled asparagus spears or mushrooms. Taste for seasoning... I use kosher salt and any of a variety of ground pepper ranging from telecherry to grains of paradise or any of several others. When you're satisfied the sauce is the proper consistency and quantity for the amount of pasta you'll be serving and that the flavor is good (adding the pasta will tone down the flavor so don't under-season) then return the scallops to the sauce, add the cooked and drained fettuccine, toss well, turn into a serving bowl or platter and garnish generously with chopped parsley. For those who like it on scallops, I offer a block of percorino Romano and a microplane at the table, along with a boule of hot crusty bread and a salad, often a panzanella dressed with balsamic (NOT a finishing balsamic that costs a gazillion dollars a bottle!) and evoo. The pasta is kind of pale so the tomatoes add a nice color contrast, but tossed greens work too. I haven't given quantities because it depends on how many people you're cooking for and how large their appetites. If you're using three pounds of scallops and four boxes of pasta, obviously you'll use more than a tablespoon of miso. Most of all, have fun and enjoy!
EDIT Sorry I forgot to answer your question about the marinade. There is a long tradition for using marinade, then cooking the marinade later as the sauce. My very traditional Japanese teriyaki chicken does just that, though with addition of a bit more mirin and some sugar to the original marinade. Give it a try! What have you got to loose? Chances are it will be delicious..
Not "freezing solid" is of no consequence, and in fact you are better off if the items you put in your freezer are not frozen solid.
The point of putting something in the freezer is to slow the growth of bacteria and slow the occurence of the degradative processes that we know as food spoilage. That's achieved by low temperature, not the phase of its water content.
In fact, since water expands when frozen, it is an undesirable thing, as it pushes against tissue and cell walls, altering the texture of whatever it is you are freezing. This is why the food industry flash freezes items, as large crystals are less likely to form, reducing the negative effect of freezing.
Miso keeps a very long time in the refrigerator; I can't tell you how long I've stored it that way (at least a year) but since you're added other ingredients to it, consider freezing the leftover portion. I would suspect your frozen leftovers would keep a very long time as well.
Interesting miso discussion: