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Miso is a Japanese food product created by blending salt, various grains and/or soybeans, and a special fungus called kojikin. This mixture is allowed to ferment for at least a few days, if not months or even years. The result is a thick paste which can be used as a soup base or thinned with water and added to a number of sauces. One common use for miso is the creation of a flavorful and nutritious salad dressing known as miso dressing.
Miso dressing is a popular alternative to other salad dressings which contain significant amounts of sugar, fat or artificial flavors. It is closer to an oil and vinegar style of salad dressing than a creamy or cheese-enhanced variety. Because miso itself is high in protein and B vitamins, miso dressing is considered to be one of the healthiest options to salad consumers. It is rarely offered on traditional salad bars or as a standard dressing, however, so a diner may want to bring a supply from home when visiting a restaurant.
A typical miso dressing recipe generally calls for a few cloves of minced garlic, minced ginger root, honey and two tablespoons of light miso paste. Miso paste is available in a number of strengths and colors, from very light to very dark. The lighter miso varieties are recommended for miso dressing, since the darker pastes can be extremely salty and the flavor would overwhelm the dressing.
The ingredients listed above should be mixed with a few tablespoons of warm water in a clean glass container. Once all of the ingredients have dissolved, a standard oil and vinegar mix, with two parts oil to one part vinegar, should be added to the miso mixture and stirred thoroughly. The solid ingredients may settle out of the miso dressing, so it should be shaken vigorously before pouring over a green salad or fresh vegetables.
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