Author Notes: When you find an old bunch of herbs in the refrigerator, the natural thing to do is make pesto. One day I had a wilting bunch of parsley, but no nuts or Parmesan anywhere in the house. What I did have was a tub of white miso, which turns out to be perfect for replacing both the nuts and the cheese in pesto. The flavor of this pesto is lighter and smoother than the traditional kind, with a subtle but unmistakable soy tang in the background. I love it with chicken or fish, but use it however you please. —ieatthepeach
Food52 Review: Four ingredients. One of them is miso. Need we say more? (Okay, we’ll say a little more: this would be just as good tossed with pot-full of hot noodles and a big splash of pasta water as it would be spooned over a pork chop.)
This recipe was featured in, “Umami Five Ways, Coming Right Up.” —The Editors
Makes: about 3/4 cup
Prep time: 20 min
heaping cups fresh parsley (about 3/4 of a bunch)
garlic cloves, sliced, plus more to taste
teaspoons white miso, plus more to taste
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed to moisten and bind the pesto
- Knife method: Pile about a third of the parsley and garlic in the center of a large cutting board, and use a large, sharp chef’s knife or vegetable cleaver to chop it very fine. Add another third of the parsley and garlic, and chop again until very fine. Add the final third of the parsley and garlic, and chop again until very fine. Add the miso paste, 1 teaspoon at a time, chopping each addition into the mixture until it’s incorporated. Towards the end, you may find it easier to mash the miso into the herbs with the flat of your knife, rather than chopping. The pesto is ready when you can press it into a lump and have it more or less stick to itself.
- Food processor method: In a food processor, combine parsley, garlic, and miso paste. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and holds together when pressed. (If you have a small processor, doing this in batches is fine.)
- If you’re using immediately, combine the parsley mixture with the oil. If you did the knife method, you can do this by hand in a bowl. If you used a food processor, you can stream in the oil with the machine running.
- If you aren’t using immediately, you can simply pour the oil over the herbs. The unstirred pesto can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. To freeze the pesto, transfer the solids to an airtight container and add enough olive oil to cover the surface; it’ll keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen pesto overnight in the refrigerator. Just before serving, stir to combine the olive oil and solids.
Photo by Rocky Luten