Spinach and Miso Soup

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This is not a traditional miso soup! Ms. Shimbo was experimenting to produce a creamy miso soup that did not separate. The bright green color is astonishing; somehow it is brighter and more saturated than spinach in its natural state. You will notice that I used cherry-blossom shaped fu, rather than the croutons recommended in the recipe. Yes, it is autumn and such flowers refer to spring. It is the cook’s neglect of time—that is, not allowing time to make croutons, rather than being unaware of the season.

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Smooth Spinach and Miso Soup
Horenso Miso-shiru

serves 4

page 228

Croutons

  • Virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of white bread, crust removed
  • 1 garlic clove, halved

Make the croutons: Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). With a pastry brush, spread the olive oil over the bread. Toast the bread in the oven until it is crisp and light golden.
Remove the bread from the oven, rub the surface with the cut sides of the garlic clove, and cut the bread into twenty-four ½-inch cubes. Set aside.

Soup

  • 9 ounces spinach leaves (255 gr)
  • 2 cups dashi (.5 liter)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ½ medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Saikkyo miso (sweet white miso)
  • ½ cup unflavored soy milk, or cow’s milk

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain the spinach, cool it in ice water, and squeeze it to remove excess water.
In a medium pot, combine the dashi, onion, and potato, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the vegetables, covered, for 20 minutes.
In a food processor or blender, blend the spinach and the other vegetables with the stock to create a smooth purée. At this point the soup base can be refrigerated, covered, for use later in the day.
Immediately before serving time, heat the soup base in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the miso, and stir until it dissolves. Add the soy milk or cow’s milk, and cook the soup over medium heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat.
Serve the soup immediately in individual bowls, garnished with the croutons.

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