Monday, March 25, 2013

Cape Cod Miso Stew

One of my all time favorite comfort foods is miso soup. Fermented soy products are the healthiest to eat and miso has been an integral part of the Japanese diet for centuries. Our favorites are the mellow white and red soy misos made by Miso Master. I try to weave miso soup into our diet a couple of times a week, but sometimes my best-laid plans go astray, so when we haven't had it for a while I like to add a piece of fish and a few other trimmings which transforms this bowl of soup into a satisfying meal.

Miso's a living food that's loaded with beneficial microorganisms such as Tetragenococcus halophilus. So the next time you're wondering how to get your daily allowance, come on back and try this recipe. I've even been known to have if for breakfast, sans the fish, which is quite common in the macrobiotic diet, but perhaps if you're new to it you'll stick with lunch or dinner for now.

Cape Cod Miso Stew
Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a starter

The Soup:
4 cups of water
3 inch piece of kombu
2 carrots (diced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
1 cup of diced Kabocha squash
1 tablespoon red miso
2 tablespoons mellow white miso

Add the kombu to the water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Put the miso paste in a small bowl and add some of the soup broth to it. Mix until it forms a nice creamy paste. Add that paste back to the soup. Let it simmer (not boil) as that will destroy those wonderful microorganisms. Remove the kombu before serving.

The Fish:
3/4 pound of fresh cod
Marinade for fish:
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ume plum vinegar

Cut the fish into two pieces and place in a baking dish or small cast iron skillet. Pour on the marinade and sprinkle with the ginger seasoning. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before baking, basting with the marinade every few minutes. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked through to your liking.

The Greens:
4 leaves of collard greens (chopped)
1/2 small sweet white onion (cut into crescents)
2 cloves garlic (diced)

Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until tender. Add the chopped collard greens (use the stems, too) and saute over high heat until the greens are tender.

Assembling the fish stew:
Divide the miso soup into two large soup bowls. Lay the greens in the middle and place a piece of fish on the greens, then pour the juices from the cooked fish over the top. Add a handful of toasted unsalted sunflower seeds. Get ready for a cacophony of tastes and textures that are the ultimate in soothing comfort food.

What's next, perhaps a lobster miso?


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