The Pureness of Miso Soup with Halibut
As much as I love halibut, it can be precarious to cook.
A lean fish, it can easily go dry and tasteless.
But “Miso Soup with Halibut” solves that conundrum by gently poaching halibut fillets in flavorful miso soup.
This fantastic recipe comes from “The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook” (2021), of which I received a review copy, by America’s Test Kitchen.
Yes, with spring around the corner, I just squeaked in under the wire with this recipe.
Yet, truth be told, with the Bay Area’s year-round mild temperatures, you can enjoy most of these 550-plus recipes any time of year, especially if it’s the likes of “Lamb Meatballs with Orzo, Tomatoes, and Feta,” “Slow-Cooker Lentil Salad with Dill, Orange, and Spinach,” “Pizza Monkey Bread,” and “Chocolate-Peanut Butter Creme Brulee.”
The miso soup starts out classically with kombu and bonito flakes steeped in hot water. To that foundation gets added ginger, onions, garlic, and thinly sliced carrots. The halibut gets submerged in that simmering broth to delicately cook through.
Remove the fish to serving bowls, then whisk miso into the soup, plus handfuls of spinach leaves, before ladling over the fish to serve.
The fish ends up moist, and perfumed by the miso broth. Serve alongside a green salad tossed with miso or ginger dressing, Japanese pickles, or steamed rice and your choice of stir-fried veggies.
It makes for a thoroughly nourishing and restorative repast.
Miso Soup with Halibut
6 cups water
1/2 ounce kombu
1 1/2 cups dried bonito flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and slice thin on bias
4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless halibut fillets, 1-inch thick
1/3 cup white miso
3 ounces (3 cups) baby spinach
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
For the dashi: Bring water and kombu to rapid simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat and discard kombu, then stir in bonito flakes and let stand to infuse flavor, about 5 minutes. Strain dashi through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract liquid, then return dashi to saucepan. (You should have about 5 1/2 cups dashi. Cooled dashi can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
For the soup: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, then add scallion whites, ginger, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots and dashi to pot and bring to simmer.
Submerge halibut in dashi and return to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 130 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer halibut to individual serving bowls.
Whisk miso into dashi in pot and bring to simmer. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from heat, then ladle soup over halibut in bowls. Sprinkle with scallion greens and sesame seeds and serve.
From “The Complete Autumn & Winter Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen
More Recipes with Miso: Hummus with White Miso
And: Miso-Glazed Fish