Author Notes: I make a Japanese-inspired mushroom soup using a broth flavored with dried mushrooms, seaweed, bonito flakes. Mushrooms and seaweed are a very healthy but luxurious combination. I like this soup a lot after a long, cold day. It is deeply satisfying but light and purifying, somehow. The use of Korean dried seaweed as a garnish is gilding the lily, I know, but I can’t resist the wonderful depth of flavor and saltiness it brings. —MJ Lentz
Serves 2, generously
For the broth, which is sort of a fortified dashi
- 1/2 cup dried mushrooms, wiped clean (Polish or porcini are terrific if you have them, but any dried mushroom will be fine)
- Six strips of Kombu seaweed, wiped clean
- 1 or 2 cups of bonito flakes, depending on how intense you’d like the broth
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 can of red kidney beans, or adzuki beans, rinsed well
- 2 or 3 tablespoons white miso paste
For the soup and garnish
- 6 pieces of Wakame seaweed, chopped or broken into bits, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons of chopped Dulse seaweed
- 1 cup of Enoki mushrooms, end trimmed off and wiped clean
- 2 cups of assorted mushrooms such as Crimini , Hen of the woods, or Oyster, wiped clean and thinly sliced
- Sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon for sautéing and 1 teaspoon for garnishing
- 6 pieces of Korean dried seaweed, sliced into thin strips
- Thinly sliced scallion
- Soy sauce
- Sea salt
- White pepper
- Soak the dried mushrooms and the Kombu in 4 cups of water in a large soup pot for 20 minutes. Add the garlic and the beans. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the bonito flakes and simmer for 10 more minutes. Using a potato masher, smash the solids in the broth to pulverize any beans or garlic that have not cooked down into the broth. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and discard the remaining solids. (The Kombu strips can be reserved, rinsed and chopped up for later use. It is lovely in a salad of delicate lettuce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.) Return the warm broth to the pot. Add the miso paste to the broth and stir. You will have a cloudy, savory, rich broth. Keep the broth warm at a gentle simmer while you make the body of the soup. If the broth reduces too much, add a cup or so of water and an additional tablespoon of miso paste to create the volume of broth you would like.
- Add the Wakame and the Dulse to the broth and simmer. In a skillet, gently sauté the assorted mushrooms in the sesame oil until they become almost tender. Add the enoki mushrooms and sauté for an additional minute. Add all the sautéed mushrooms to the seaweed and broth. Taste, adding soy sauce and additional miso paste to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- Ladle the soup into 2 large bowls, using as much or as little of the broth as you like. Drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce to taste into the soup. Sprinkle the Korean dried seaweed strips atop the soup, and garnish with scallion, sea salt and white pepper.