Instead of merely presenting various recipes from traditional kitchens, Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen (Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2015) includes an authentic view of Japanese life. Through full-color photographs and the backdrop of different products, Nancy Singleton Hachisu documents the day-to-day operations of the people and places required to make recipes like these possible, from barrel makers to morning pickle markets. This is a book about community, seasonality as the root of preserved food, and ultimately why both are relevant in our lives today, and these methods are easy to integrate into any existing cooking repertoire.
This pickle was culled from William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi’s excellent tome, The Book of Miso.
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 1/2 medium-sized kabocha (about 1-1/3 pounds/600 g)
• About 1/2 pound (250 g) brown rice or barley miso
• 7-spice powder
1. Fill a medium-sized, heavy pot three-quarters full of water, throw in the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the kabocha, peel, and slice into 1/2-inch (12-mm) thick wedges (measured from the back edge) with a sturdy kitchen knife. Blanch for 1 minute in the boiling water, remove with a fine-mesh strainer, cool under cold running water, and let air-dry for an hour or so on a clean, dry dish towel.
3. Spread the miso around the pieces of kabocha, sprinkling in 7-spice powder to taste, and pack in a resealable plastic bag. Store in the fridge for a few weeks, but start tasting after 1 week. When the kabocha has sufficiently softened, it is ready to eat. Carefully remove a slice or so from the miso and wipe before eating. If the miso starts to overwhelm the kabocha flavor, scrape off all of the miso and store in a clean bag. Reuse the miso pickling bed for making miso soups.
VARIATIONS: Any dense, flavorful winter squash could be substituted successfully here.
Find more recipes from this cookbook:
Reprinted with permission from Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu and published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2015.