Clams in Sweet White Miso and Green Tea Broth
(recipe, Robert J. Heiss & Mary Lou Heiss)
This easy-to-make soup is so delicious, you'll add it to your everyday repertoire.
- 24 small-to-medium-sized littleneck clams
- 2 qt. water, divided
- 4 Tbsp. green tea leaves or 8 green-tea tea bags
- 8 Tbsp. sweet white Japanese miso
- 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp. brown or white sesame seeds
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
- Wash the clams in a pan of cold, clean water. Scrub the shells and discard any clams that are cracked or gaping open. Change the water several times and leave the clams to soak for 10 minutes, to disgorge any remaining sand. Rinse the clams well and set aside to drain.
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush the black peppercorns until you have small, cracked pieces that are not too big but not yet powder. Add the sea salt and crush just a little. Add both types of sesame seeds and crush until they begin to lose their shape. Mix in the cayenne and paprika. Set aside.
- In a kettle, bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes. Place the loose tea leaves or tea bags in a 1½-quart saucepan. Pour the water over the tea leaves, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and brew for 2 minutes. If you are using loose tea leaves, strain the brewed tea into a saucepan. If you are using tea bags, lift them out and press them gently against the side of the saucepan to drain.
- With the remaining 1 quart water, brew the same tea leaves a second time, using the method just described. Add this second infusion to the first. Add the miso to the tea and mix well. The miso will separate. Add the ginger to the tea-and-miso mixture. Mix well and set aside; cover it to retain heat.
- Place the clams in a 4- or 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, then cover the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until all the clams have opened.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams from the pan. Drain the clams, then divide them among soup plates, being careful to not dislodge them from their shells. Stir the tea broth and ladle a generous amount over the clams. Scatter a sprinkling of the spice mix over each dish and serve hot.
Instead of clams, you can substitute shrimp or narrow strips of sweet white fish. Add a splash of color with finely shredded spinach or seaweed.