So, the USA and Canada was a little late in getting on the umami bandwagon. This is a great little recipe to duplicate the famous Taste Number 5 Umami Paste. Basically, one lady chef found a way to combine all glutamate rich foods and turn them into a delicious, rich and more-ish paste. I've made a few more tweaks, adding two kinds of mushrooms, toasted walnuts and a whole lot more garlic! It looks highly unappetizing, but hide a glob of it in pot-roast and pasta, and pizza, and hoo boy! (It's basically natural MSG.)
Also, making your own is extremely cheap than to actually buy it. I bought (and am waiting for) one tube off of a UK based seller on ebay, and I paid a total of $15 for a 70 gram tube. The ingredients I have can make a ton more at a much lower cost - I paid about $20 for my ingredients....and I didn't use it all! (I created 2 cups of this stuff - while the actual commercial stuff is just under a third of a cup!)The Main Players:
- stick blender or another blender
- non-stick pan or skillet
- black olives (I like the stuff in the olive bar, because it tastes much more savoury!)
- a package of clean and sliced fresh mushrooms (I like using shittake...but these are bloody expensive!)
- some olive oil
- tomato paste
- freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 or 3 anchovy filets
- optional: toasted walnuts
- optional: balsamic vinegar (the real stuff!)
* makes two cups - I doubled the recipe...
I used this recipe as a baseline:http://foodfrenzy.ocregister.com/2011/08/25/savory-recipe-of-the-week-umami-paste/45891/
(cheese is an animal product, silly), toss the anchovy and up the toasted walnuts!
1) Toast the walnuts, peel the garlic, slice the olives.
Pretty parmesan cheese...
2) Heat your pan until it's blazingly hot.
3) Add some olive oil to lubricate and add your mushrooms. If using straw mushrooms, make sure that you poke them a few times to let them off their liquid.
4) Cook until reduced by half - straw mushrooms have an amazing amount of H20!
5) Add your garlic, olives and continue cooking for several minutes, or until fully heated through.
6) Dump your tomato paste into the mixture, add your parmesan, and your anchovy filets. If using your balsamic vinegar, add it now! (I'm not a big fan of it...)
7) Cook until your parmesan melts into the mixture and stir everything together.
Finally add your walnuts.
9) Toss your entire mixture into the blender. Whiz until smooth. (Add a little bit more olive oil, if you feel like the mixture's too thick.) The consistency should look like pesto.
Eat! Spread it on bread (chill it if using it as a spread!
), use it as a wet rub on meat (CHICKEN!), stir it into soups, and basically have fun with it! (Also, you can mix it with vinegar to create a salad dressing.) It is very smoky, does not taste of mushrooms, and very salty - you can probably pair it with fresh greens for a great tasting mixture.
* Update: It was a disappointment on some beef steak today. I slathered the stuff onto the steak, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then seared it. (It didn't taste that...beefy...) I think my usual way of prepping it is better - sear it quickly and dump some soy sauce on it.