Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

JAPANESE COOKING: Fish in Clear Dashi Broth

Since it's spring, I've been picking out the springtime-looking soups in the soup section of my Japanese cookbook. This fish soup in a clear broth with watercress and lemon looked very springlike and reminded me of some soups I had when I was in Japan in the springtime.

The original recipe is made with a fish head, but the one in the books uses a more attractive fish filet with skin on. The fish used in Japan is porgy, or sea bream. That's not available at my fishmonger, which mostly sells local fish and only a few special fish shipped from overseas. The recipe gave sole as an acceptable substitute and sole is locally available.

I chose a rex sole because it still had the skin on, as opposed to the petrale sole. The only problem I ran into with it is that it is cooked with the bone on, and then taken off the bone. That added some extra steps to this preparation and because the bones are delicate, I ended up with one or two bones in my soup. Next time I would probably just choose the other and forget the skin.

The end result was not as pretty as the picture in the book, but I still think it looked nice and springy. The broth was good and the watercress and lemon zest added a bit of zing to the flavor.

I felt that it was a good choice for spring for sure, as the soup was very light and the clear broth and bright colors just looked right for the season.


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