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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tomato Miso Soup (丸ごとトマトの味噌汁)

I bring you a break from my Japan adventures to make sure you have a chance to make this soup while tomatoes are in season!

Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a funny tidbit about food blogging in general that I really think applies to this recipe. I'm no bullshit. I really don't have the time or energy to pretend life is perfect. I've written about how disastrous I am in the kitchen, and just last week shared how I can't even eat spaghetti or salad without ruining a blouse.

As I've said before, this is isn't one of the more ambitious food blogs, but I'd like to think it's one of the real ones.

I wear an apron not for the fetishized Stepford wife effect, but because I'm really just fucking messy.

So when I set about making this recipe, I was able to make it with my mother's huge bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes. The problem with most heirloom varieties is they are very photo-ready. They tend to crack, have splotchy color, and seem to never be a uniform shape. Not exactly blog-worthy visually, but definitely delicious! But food blogging is about pretty photos. Really, no one cares about what I write up here; we eat with our eyes first. There's a reason Pinterest is popular: we are visual creatures. You can't take my word for it that the ugliest tomato ever is actually delicious. It's gotta look the part.

Some of the wonderful crazy colors!
Therefore I was faced with a choice: make the recipe with grocery store Stepford wife tomatoes, or not-so-pretty heirloom tomatoes? I could even make it with the perfect umblemished grocery store ones for just the photos, then eat the ones from the garden. But that just seemed to venture too far away from my style.

Instead I hosted a casting call of all the ripe heirloom tomatoes from my mother's garden and chose the prettiest ones for my photos! Is it perfectly round? Nope, but it tasted perfect. You'll just have to take my word on it.

Whole Tomato Miso Soup (丸ごとトマトの味噌汁)

2 medium ripe tomatoes
4 tbs of miso (red preferred, but I used my go-to fave brown)
3 cups of dashi
dried chives for garnish

First off, feel free to substitute fresh chives or green onions for the dried chives. Edible flowers would even be fun.

You have two choices for peeling the tomatoes: roast them slightly over a flame just until the skin cracks in a couple places and you can peel them, or blanche them in boiling water for 30 seconds then cool them down and peel. I chose to roast them because I'm only doing two and I abhor wasting time and water, but if you're doubling this recipe it might be faster to boil them. For roasting, I just use my gas stove and carefully spear it with a fork.

After you have peeled the tomatoes, remove the core and place in a saucepan with the dashi on medium heat, being careful not to simmer as the tomatoes will break apart. After about five minutes, the tomatoes will be heated through. Don't worry if the tomatoes are completely submerged as they will float usually anyways.

Take some of the heated dashi out of the saucepan into a small glass and dissolve the miso in the small amount of dashi until no chunks remain. The reason for removing a small portion of dashi: you can more easily ferret out clumps of undissolved miso in the small glass than your saucepan. After it is thoroughly dissolved, remove the tomatoes and place in serving bowls. Add the dissolved miso into the saucepan, stir to incorporate with the rest of the dashi, and then ladle into the bowls. Do not let the miso dashi mixture simmer. Top with garnish and serve hot!

See Also:
Nasu Dengaku
Taberu Rayu Cucumbers
Togarashi Zucchini
Caprese Skewers

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