MAKES: About 1 cup (4 servings)

TIME: About 15 minutes

When the Japanese chef Yumiko Kano showed me this sauce, she used it to dress blanched and shocked green beans (see Shocking Vegetables). But now I toss it on all sorts of vegetables, from grilled eggplant or mushrooms to steamed kale or broccoli. Try a dollop on thickly sliced tomatoes, use a bowlful as a dip for raw celery, or just spoon it onto boiled rice or soba, somen, or udon noodles.

Virtually any unsalted roasted nut and most seeds will work here. For starters, try almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

One 1-inch-long piece ginger

1/4 cup light (white or sweet) miso (see The Basics of Miso)

1 cup shelled walnuts

1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste (optional)

Grate the ginger over a bowl, then place in a small fine-meshed strainer and press out the juice, about a teaspoon. Combine the ginger juice with the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Add a little water or soy sauce until the mixture is the desired thickness. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Variation

Tahini Miso Sauce. Faster and easier; just use a whisk: Instead of the walnuts, use 1/2 cup tahini and 1/2 cup water.