A few months in, and Kaja and I have found a comfortable rhythm hosting our Two Kitchens Brussels Supperclubs and Cooking Classes (plus, most recently, doing our first catering gig!). That isn’t to say we are not still learning. All. The. Time. One of the most interesting things we learn with each event is what dishes do well, or turn out to be total crowd-pleasers, and which dishes do less well (giant beans lovingly cooked into tender submission and taramasalata I am looking at you!).
Somewhat surprisingly, miso aioli, a late addition to our February Supperclubs, was a huge hit. Initially meant for the vegetarian option only, after seeing the bowls being passed around the table we doubled the amount for our second Spring Edition dinner. We served the miso aioli alongside broccoli (steamed first, then panfried) drizzled with minced preserved lemon, lemon juice and olive oil.
But today I have another idea for you. A Schnitzel Baguette. But different. This one gets a schmear of the miso aioli, then a panko crusted pork cutlet, plus soy sauce and sesame oil cucumber salad and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and spring onion. What would bring this entire thing over the top would be a cold Kirin on the side to wash this all down!
I love using miso in dishes where I would otherwise use salt – I like that using miso adds a more mellow saltiness but also complexity in terms of flavour. And while I often use miso in desserts where you would otherwise typically use salt (think Miso Butterscotch), there is no reason not to do the same in savoury food (after all, miso is originally a savoury ingredient!).
Here, sweet white miso (less salty than darker varieties of miso) takes the place of the salt more regularly used to season aioli. Which also means the recipe is almost embarrassingly simple: you basically make a regular aioli but use miso instead of salt (and omit the garlic since this would overpower miso’s flavour). And yet, it tastes altogether different than regular aioli, with a hint of sweetness and a complexity that seems impossible to come from so few ingredients.
Aside from this Schnitzel Baguette, you can basically use this miso aioli anywhere else where you might normally use aioli or mayonnaise (think potato or rice salads, sandwiches, devilled eggs etc). And ideally you should use it somewhere where its flavour won’t be overshadowed by other ingredients.
Schnitzel Baguette, with Miso Aioli and Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil Cucumber Salad
Notes: There is nothing particularly tricky about this recipe but making aioli can take a bit of trial and error to get right. So make sure you have sufficient oil and eggs (and miso) in case your first one doesn’t turn out right (it happens to everyone once in a while). The trick is to start whisking quite slowly and pour in the oil as slowly as you manage until the mixture starts to thicken. You can then add in the remaining oil more quickly.
For the Miso Aioli
1 egg yolk
175ml sunflower oil (or other neutral-tasting vegetable oil)
1 tbsp white miso
Juice of ½ lemon
For the Schnitzel
2 pork cutlets, flattened
Pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten with a little milk
Flour and panko breadcrumbs for dredging
Oil for frying
For the Japanese Cucumber Salad
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
A drizzle of sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
One Baguette, cut into two and split open
2 thinly sliced spring onions
1 tsp of black sesame seeds
Start by making the Japanese Cucumber Salad. Using a mandolin (or a sharp knife) cut the cucumber into as thin slices as possible. Mix together with the soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil and minced garlic. Set aside. The dressing will pull some of the water from the cucumber so wait until you are ready to serve to adjust the seasoning of the cucumber salad.
Next, make the miso aioli. In a bowl slowly whisk the egg yolk while drizzling in the oil as slowly as you manage. The mixture should start to thicken within the first minute. If not, start over. Once ca. 1/3 of the oil has been absorbed, you can start drizzling in the oil a little faster. Once all the oil has been absorbed add the miso and lemon juice, whisking to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more miso and/or lemon juice.
For the Schnitzel, prepare a little dredging station next to your stove: set out a place covered with some flour, a deeper bowl in which you whisk the egg with a little milk and a plate with panko.
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Season each pork cutlet with salt then dredge in flour. Shake off any excess flour before dipping each cutlet in the beaten egg. Next, place on the plate with panko and use your hands to press the panko against both cutlets.
Fry each Schnitzel for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain any excess oil from the Schnitzels on a plate lined with paper towels.
To assemble, spread each piece of bread generously with the Miso Aioli and scatter half the spring onions and half the sesame seeds over it. Top with one of the Schnitzel. Layer the cucumber salad on top. Repeat with the other half of baguette and second Schnitzel. Enjoy!