Shiso Special

Last week I finally made it to Sushi Park for dinner. It was fantastic, fresh and inspired. The only drawback for me is its price tag is a bit prohibitive to be a place I could frequent.

One of my all-time favorite items when I'm in sushi-land is the scallop with a shiso leaf. It is usually garnished with a bit of coarse salt and a droplet of mirin. It is not to be dipped in soy sauce. This little gem of delight is impossibly delicate, subtle and perfectly rounded in both texture and flavor. The shiso adds an earthy, yet minty accent to the rich and sumptuous scallop bite – which makes sense as it is from the mint and basil family.

As I was waxing rhapsodic about the wonder and delight of the shiso leaf, our chef – who couldn’t help but overhear – generously handed me two small bundles of the little lovelies. I was already on cloud nine with the meal (with the exception of their sweet shrimp – not so hot), but this was just the shiniest, specialest thing ever!

So, the next two days my mind swirled with ideas of what I could do with my bounty of these prickly, pungent leaves. I found that Heidi, at 101 Cookbooks, had a lovely looking recipe for Edamame Salad with Shiso and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. But I was still trying to find a way to incorporate it into a dish that had no Japanese influence or ingredients. I actually made a pasta salad with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, chives, and – in lieu of basil – I opted for shiso leaves, chiffonade. I dressed the whole thing with some oil, a little mirin and a scant dash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. It turned out nicely: fresh, sprited and surprising, if perhaps a bit busy.

That night, for dinner I had planned on preparing a steak using my awesome “perfect steak” recipe. Then it struck me, the steak could topped with a shiso leaf butter! That lovely, crisp and fresh accent to the steak would be a superb idea. I hoped.

Well it really worked out beautifully. This would be great item sharing a plate with a crisp salad and some sweet corn. All so fresh and Summery, colorful and creative.

Shiso Leaf Butter


14 medium shiso leaves, coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Smooth butter into a container and refrigerate. 

Place a generous dollop on top of your steak!

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