Yo Yo Yo! Pretty soon it’ll be ho ho ho! Can’t believe the year has gone by so fast. That’s what I say every year.
Must mean I’m getting old. Slowly but surely.
This past week I’ve been on a Japanese food kick.
I hope it keeps me young. At least if I stick to eating healthy Japanese food it will. I think.
Diet and exercise they say. Right?
I’ll try to help you with the diet part, but no promises or guarantees.
Let’s kick this week off with a healthier recipe.
This first recipe is a lighter version of mentaiko pasta. I previously made and wrote about a mentaiko pasta that was made with cream and mayo. That one was definitely more decadent and richer in both texture and flavor.
I think the cream version takes some of the savory aspects away from the mentaiko (since it’s swimming in a cream sauce). I also think the shiso loses some of its power to the cream sauce too. Cream told shiso to surrender and it did.
Shiso maybe got the last laugh. Shiso is the star of this dish. It is a Japanese herb that is part of the mint family. It has a very distinct and refreshing flavor. It is served with all kinds of food including fish, vegetables, and tofu. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here !
The shiso on this plate almost makes you think you are eating something straight out of your garden. If you’ve had it before you know what I’m talking about.
Or maybe, you can just go to your garden now and eat something from there. If it’s fresh and herby, maybe it will have the same effect. Let me know what happens if you do this 😉
Salty mentaiko is a good contrast to shiso. If you are perceptive enough, you might even be able to sense the tiny little eggs releasing their flavor with each bite.
It’s like eating fairy dust. Just magic.
If you want a fresher and lighter taste, this could be a good alternative to my first mentaiko pasta.
In summary, the olive oil and shiso really shine through in this pasta. Like the suns rays breaking through the clouds just after a cool winter storm.
With each bite you can savor the shiso and olive oil. Let those flavors hit your taste buds like rays of light. Shaken to the core.
And if those flavors of shiso and olive oil aren’t hitting you, you aren’t you aren’t using enough!
If you want to see me make this from scratch I put together a video, let me know what you think !
For those keen on getting started cooking Japanese food, I’ve put together a quick reference on Japanese Food Supplies that can help get you started! Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!
Also, here is a link to my Japanese recipes page. It’s one of my specialties, so I hope you get a chance to try one.
In case you missed them, here are some of my other pasta recipes!
A Lighter Mentaiko Pasta with Olive Oil
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 people 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 1/2 lb. Spaghetti (cooked in salted water until al dente)
- 3 Tablespoons Mentaiko (~ 60 grams spicy cod roe)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (melted, but not hot)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4–5 leaves shiso (finely chopped)
- fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
- nori (finely chopped)
- Cook spaghetti according in salted water until al dente. Drain.
- Meanwhile, measure out the mentaiko.
- Measure out soy sauce, olive oil, and melted butter and combine. Add in the mentaiko until just mixed.
- Once spaghetti is ready, drain and immediately mix in with the mentaiko mixture.
- Season with pepper and top with shiso and nori and serve!
- Devour like there is no tomorrow.
- No regrets.