Nuta-Caramelized Chicken & Squash

December 18, 2019
Author Notes

Nuta is a miso dressing that adds bright-yellow intrigue to otherwise simply prepared greens (blanched) or seafood (boiled). To be a “nuta” requires only the presence of white miso and vinegar. But the first nuta I ever tasted was a nuta with mustard, and upon tasting it, I wondered a) why you would ever leave the mustard out and b) how I could make up for all this lost time pre-nuta. The first taste will remind you of honey mustard: puckery, a little sweet, a little spicy, and unmistakably yellow-mustard-y. But then, the sweetness is tempered—by the funky miso, sharp sake, and sharper rice wine vinegar.

The recipe below, for a sheet pan chicken and squash dinner, shows off nuta in two of my favorite ways: caramelized, transformed by heat, and raw, tossed with bitter greens. But you can also just keep it simple. Slather nuta onto a fluffy baguette, with mayo, pickles, ribbons of turkey, and top with shredded lettuce. Or, toss spicy salad greens (arugula, frisee, or radicchio are all welcome here) with crisped bacon, some of the bacon fat, and a spoonful of nuta. —Coral Lee

  • Prep time 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 2-4
  • 6 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder (such as Colman's)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/ 1/2 pounds (about 4) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 delicata squash, seeded and quartered on the bias
  • 5 cups bitter salad greens (such as arugula or frisée)
  • 1 pinch flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper, for finishing
In This Recipe
  1. Blend together the white miso, rice vinegar, sake, mirin, sugar, mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the nuta for serving. Use the rest to coat the chicken, place in a shallow baking dish or plastic bag, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt, and scatter onto a baking sheet (taking care to arrange the squash cut-faces down). Arrange the marinated chicken thighs around the squash, and roast for 15 minutes. Flip the squash, and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until everything is deeply caramelized.
  3. Whisk the reserved 2 tablespoons nuta with the remaining olive oil in a large mixing bowl, then shower in the greens. With a claw hand, toss to coat the greens lightly in the dressing. Finish with flaky salt and black pepper, and serve with the chicken and squash.

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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.