Ole G. Mouritsen is a distinguished scientist and professor of biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark. His book, Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste, won the Danish national Mad+Medier+Prisen (Food and Media Award) in the category of academic food communication. This is one of his recipes.
4–6 thick white asparagus spears
1 dL (2∕5 c) white miso paste
2 large firm cucumbers
4 oysters in their shells
4 Tbsp dried baby sardines
1 dL (deciliter) neutral-tasting oil
1. Peel the asparagus carefully and place the spears in a sealed plastic bag with the miso paste; refrigerate for 3 days.
2. Peel the cucumbers to make about 50 g (12⁄3 oz) peel. Place the peel in a thermo mixer or blender together with the oil.
3. If possible, blend at 70oC (160oF) for 8 minutes. Strain to remove any solid bits. The resulting liquid is cucumber oil, which can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.
4. Dry the marinated asparagus and cut them into thin slices lengthwise. Cut the slices again lengthwise, so that they look like noodles.
5. Open the oysters, drain their liquid into a little bowl, chop the oyster flesh coarsely, and mix it into the oyster water.
6. Mix the oysters with the asparagus, vacuum-pack the mixture, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: Arrange the asparagus and oysters in pasta bowls and pour any remaining liquid over them. Add a drizzle of cucumber oil and crumble the dried baby sardines over the top.
From Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste, published by Columbia University Press