Salmon & Vegetables in a Miso Broth
My food is inspired by a lot of things - food from my childhood, Chicago's vibrant restaurant scene, and TV. My husband and I are massive Top Chef fans; I love watching pros showcase their creativity and I've learned a lot of things about food and cooking from that show. There was one season where it felt like everything was "in a dashi broth". So I turned to my good friend The Internet and read up on dashi. Though this Japanese broth can have many variations, the core two ingredients are kombu or dried sea kelp and katsuobushi or dried and shaved fish flakes. I know that sounds very strange and perhaps unappetizing but if you've ever had miso soup or ramen at a Japanese restaurant, you've already had dashi! The does take making this 2-3 times to figure out the small tweaks to suit your palate and like me, you will make a couple of batches that are too kelpy or too fishy. I think it's worth the effort; as I blog, I'll share more recipes with dashi and if you are already cooking with dashi, leave me a comment on what you've made with it!
This particular recipe is really clean and simple. You can easily add some soba noodles tossed in sesame oil and swap out the bok choy with any other green vegetables you prefer. You can find every specialty ingredient at any Asian grocery store; if that's not an option, I've left Amazon links in the ingredient list.
- 3/4 lb salmon, divided into two portions
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms
- 1-2 baby bok choy
- 4 cups water
- 2-inch or 20-gram piece of kombu
- 1 cup bonito fish flakes, loosely packed
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1/2 tsp Nanami togarashi (cayenne & paprika also work)
- 2 tsp oil
- salt to taste
- 1/2 Fresno or serrano chili (optional)
- Radish greens or spring onions to garnish (optional)
- Soak the kombu in the 4 cups of room temperature water for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. On a cookie sheet, drizzle some oil and place the salmon skin-side down. Season with salt and Nanami togarashi (you can use paprika or cayenne). Bake for 15 mins.
- Prep your bok choy and mushrooms. Wash thoroughly and cut your bok choy to your liking. Wipe the mushrooms with a wet paper towel; washing them directly with water adds too much liquid. Tear some of the larger stems into bite-sized pieces.
- Make the broth. Add the water and kombu to a pot and bring to a boil. Just as the liquid begins to boil, remove the kombu, as it will turn bitter if left in boiling water for too long. Next, add the bonito fish flakes and let boil. Turn off the heat. Once the flakes start to fall to the bottom of the pot, the dashi is finished. Turn off the heat and strain out the fish flakes with a sieve. Add the miso and some salt, mix well and set aside.
- While the broth is cooking, place a pan on high heat and add the oil. Once the oil starts smoking, add the Fresno chili (if using) and mushrooms to the pan. Toss well to sear, about 5 mins. Season with Nanami togarashi and salt. Set aside.
- Steam the bok choy. You can bring a separate pot to boil or use whichever method you prefer. I just placed a strainer on top of my dashi broth as it was cooking and steamed the bok choy for 4 mins (image below).
- Assemble! Pour the broth in equal amounts into two bowls. Place the fish, the bok choy, and the mushrooms in the bowl. Sprinkle the bok choy with some salt (if you haven't seasoned it yet). Garnish with greens or spring onions.