After reading Girl in the Kitchen a few months ago, I kept thinking back to a couple of recipes that appear in the Extras chapter at the end of the book. They’re similar concepts, and both are nut butters. One is a Miso-Marcona Almond Butter, and the other is a Pistachio-Cilantro Butter. Both include nuts, miso, soy sauce, honey, olive oil, and something spicy, and both are recommended as accompaniments to shrimp or scallops among other things. I knew mild scallops would be a good vehicle for either of these thick sauces with savory, nutty, spicy flavors full of umami. I decided to go with the pistachio version primarily because that one also includes cilantro, and I wanted to use the last of the cilantro from my garden now that its season has come to an end. There’s also sriracha in it, and when is that not a good thing?
So, making the sauce is a simple matter of throwing several things into a food processor and pushing the on button. Those things are: shelled, salted pistachios, cilantro leaves, vegetable oil, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, sriracha, white miso, salt, and pepper. It forms a very thick paste, but you can thin it with water to the consistency you desire. The finished nut butter can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks, but I found that it gets thicker as it sits. You may want to whisk in a little water if using after it has been stored. If you use the sauce right away, it’s at its glossy best. I placed the sauce on the plate and sat seared scallops on top since this isn’t a loose, drizzling kind of sauce. Also, Kurt has a thing about preferring sauces not to be on top of scallops as he enjoys the crispness from the searing, so sauce on the plate worked well for two reasons.
I don’t think I ever would have come up with the combination of ingredients in this sauce, but I’m very glad to have tried it. The flavors are bright and rich with a nice kick considering that I added a little extra sriracha. There’s also a recipe in the book that uses this pistachio butter with Balsamic Barbecue Quail. I already know how good that will be, and I now know to make extra pistachio butter when I get to that recipe.