This dish, like the konbu dashi soup with clams, once again demonstrates the power of konbu, which infuses water with an irresistible savoriness or umami to serve as a flavor foundation for other ingredients. In this case, Atsushi prepared a simple soup with egg and scallion that was fast to prepare and extremely tasty.
What you need:
- Konbu, about 4 inches
- 2 cups or so of water
- 2 eggs, beaten well in a cup
- Usukuchi soy sauce (see this post)
- Handful of scallions, finely sliced
The technique: First, let me talk for a second about the method for slicing scallions I picked up working at Matsuri. I can't remember if I discussed this already on the Report, so here it goes: After you slice scallions, stick them in a strainer and soak under cold running water (or in a big bowl of cold water) for at least 20-30 minutes. Now transfer handfuls of the scallions to a clean dish towel and wring them out, squeezing out excess water and juices. The purpose of this is rid the scallions of bitterness and preserve them. After wringing spread, them out to dry a bit on a tray, then store in an air tight container. Prepared this way, the scallions will last several days in the fridge, and will add a clean, oniony flavor to dishes.
Okay, back to the soup. Add a piece of konbu to the water and let it sit overnight. Bring to a boil and cook until white bubbles appear on the surface and the liquid gives off a konbu aroma. Remove any scum that appears, then remove the konbu. Lower heat and simmer.
Now add about a tablespoon of mirin and simmer the liquid for a few minutes so the alcohol from the mirin evaporates. Add about about a tablespoon and a half of soy sauce. Taste the liquid. "Not too dark, and not too light," is how Atsushi described it. You want a nice balance between sweet and savory, with neither flavor overpowering. Add a handful of sliced scallions and cook for a minute.
Turn up the heat so the liquid starts boiling. You're ready to swirl in the eggs at this point. Here's how: With one hand hold a pair of chopsticks together vertically against the lip of the cup with the beaten eggs, which you hold with your other hand, with the chopsticks' tips a couple of inches below the cup. So when you add the eggs they'll pour down the chopsticks in a thin, steady stream into the broth. Makes sense? Now pour the eggs in this manner into the boiling broth, swirling as you go. The eggs will cook as soon as they hit the water and combine with the scallions. Some of the egg may not be fully set, but they'll do so in another minute. Divide the broth and eggs into bowls and serve.
When you try this dish, I'd be grateful if you could let me know in the comments how it turns out. Did it work? Any questions or thoughts?