Archive | 6:36 pm

Best Miso Soup

18 May

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a recent issue of Self Magazine because it had the always-lovely Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover. I think she is so beautiful and she seems very down to earth. While the cover touted her healthy eating “secrets,” I was quickly drawn into the wonderful excerpt from her new cookbook. After reading the article and getting a glimpse at what the cookbook was all about, I knew that this was one of those cookbooks that I didn’t want to live without. In a weak moment during aimless wandering through Target, I treated myself to something I didn’t really need, but very badly wanted.

A few short days later, My Father’s Daughter has quickly become one of the best cookbooks I have ever owned and one of the most frequently used cookbooks in my repertoire.

It’s full of family stories, warm sentiments, and honest, delicious food. The recipes range from incredibly healthy to wonderfully decadent and everything in between. I made mental notes of recipes I wanted to make ASAP: miso soup, Bruce Paltrow’s world-famous pancakes, roasted cauliflower, chicken Milanese, slow-roasted tomato soup. I could go on and on because, really, I want to make every single recipe in the book. She introduces each recipe with a personal anecdote or helpful tip, and there is a picture for nearly each dish. It’s beautifully written. I think I’ve read the entire book, cover to cover, word for word.

The first recipe I made was Best Miso Soup, which Paltrow said she ate “everyday for breakfast and sometimes with dinner” during the macrobiotic chapter of her life. Between the local asian market and Whole Foods, I easily found all of the ingredients.

Best Miso Soup

-from My Father’s Daughter

  • 6 cups water (filtered is best)
  • 1 cup dried bonito flakes
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 4-inch piece dried wakame seaweed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 cups watercress leaves, washed (optional)
  1. Heat the water in a small soup pot and when bubbles form around the edges, add the bonito. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes
  2. Turn off the heat and let the broth sit for 5 minutes. Strain the broth into a clean pot, discarding the bonito. Add the shiitakes and wakame to the broth and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the wakame and mushrooms. Discard the thick stems from the mushrooms, thinly slice the caps, and slip them back into the soup. Chop the wakame into small pieces, discarding any thick piece of stems, and return to the pot.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the miso pate with a bit of the broth and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture back into the pot and let the soup simmer, being careful not to let it boil. If you’re using it, add the watercress at the last-minute just to wilt it, and serve.
Note: You can make the dashi – the bonito, shiitake, and wakame broth – in advance and then add the miso whenever you’re ready to eat.  Serves 4

From left: wakame seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, white miso, bonito flakes

Bonita flakes are flakes of dried, smoked bonito fish. I couldn’t find them at the asian market, but found them at Whole Foods in the international foods aisle.
Wakame seaweed has a subtly sweet flavor and slippery texture and is most commonly served in soups or salads. It is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid and new studies have found that a compound in wakame, known as fucoxanthin, can help burn fatty tissue (wikipedia).
I used white miso in my soup for a lighter, sweeter version, but Paltrow also recommends barley miso if you are looking for that depth of flavor. The white miso is reminiscent of what you’d find at your favorite sushi bar.

Travis and I each enjoyed two small bowls of this, and I had enough to bring for lunch the next day. This will be a recipe I make often, as will many of her recipes, I’m certain.
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