Japanese Restaurant Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

Miso-Ginger-Carrot Salad Dressing

Our favorite Japanese restaurant on Long Island was Isono on Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park. It was one of our regular haunts and never let us down over many years of memorable meals. The food was phenomenal and we loved it all, but we especially swooned over their salad dressing. I can remember the icy, crisp lettuce with that heavenly dressing very well, even though I haven’t had it in years. Sadly, Isono has now closed, and with it the secret of the dressing, but over the years I worked on creating a similar dressing because I just had to have it. I was thrilled to finally replicate it!

This dressing, to our palates, is identical in flavor and consistency. It really shines when paired with a sturdy, crisp lettuce like romaine (make sure to include the crispy ribs of each leaf) or even much-maligned iceberg lettuce, which is what they used at Isono. These types of lettuce hold more water, which allows them to get really cold and crunchy. That’s what you’re aiming for here. Get the lettuce super-cold before serving and bring the dressing to room temperature and you will have an unforgettable treat. Cold cucumbers, radishes, red cabbage, snow peas, thinly sliced red onions—all are good additions!

Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

Japanese Restaurant Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

Makes about 2 cups of dressing

4 Tbs. Mellow White Miso ((Miso Master highly recommended))
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
¼ C. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 C. peanut oil (or other oil of your choice)

In a blender or food processor, blend the miso, ginger, vinegar or lemon juice and sesame oil. Gradually add the vegetable oil in a stream with the blender or processor running. This will result in a very thick dressing. Add water as desired for thinner consistency, or see below for Miso-Ginger-Carrot variation.

CLICK HERE to print Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing recipe.
 

Carrot juice Carrot juice

Recently, I was intrigued to learn of another famous dressing, this one from Dojo Restaurant in New York, that sounded like the Isono dressing with the addition of a raw carrot. I have yet to try it from the source, but several recipes that emulate it can be found online. I tried a cross between this version from www.goop.com and this one from www.smittenkitchen.com and loved the result, but wanted a smoother texture that couldn’t be achieved using a whole carrot (unless you happen to have a weapons-grade blender!). I decided to juice a few carrots and use the juice instead. Delicious and beautiful, too!
 
 

Japanese Restaurant Miso-Ginger-Carrot Salad Dressing

Makes about 2 cups of dressing

4 Tbs. Mellow White Miso ((Miso Master highly recommended))
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
¼ C. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
¼ C. fresh carrot juice (from about 3 – 4 carrots)
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 C. peanut oil (or other oil of your choice)

In a blender or food processor, blend the miso, ginger, vinegar or lemon juice, carrot juice and sesame oil. Gradually add the vegetable oil in a stream with the blender or processor running.
 

CLICK HERE to print Miso-Ginger-Carrot Dressing recipe.

 
Asian Miso-Ginger-Carrot dressing
 
 
The carrot juice had the effect of thinning out the dressing, but added another layer of flavor and a tiny bit of sweetness to play with the tang of the miso and vinegar/lemon juice. Next time I may try heating the carrot juice and reducing by half to see whether that results in a punchier carrot flavor.

Both of these are great drizzled on steamed vegetables, too.

Miso-Ginger-Carrot dressing

 

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