We had some friends over for dinner this weekend and considering we are trying to refine our Japanese cooking skills, we decided to have a Japanese themed dinner.
We started off our morning gathering all of our ingredients. One of the dishes we wanted to make was Miso Clam Soup so naturally, we had to get some fresh clams.
Diana’s seafood was our go to fish market for this – it’s pretty far from where we live but we can always count on them for having the largest variety of the freshest fish.
We picked up a few items from there but we can post about those later 🙂 We picked up two types of clams for our soup since we wanted to mix it up a bit: Littleneck and savoury clams.
People often store their clams by throwing the closed bag in the fridge or soaking them in water until they’re ready to use. This is not the best way to store your clams as you are at risk of killing them. Clams need to breathe so the first thing you should do when you are home is to open up the bag. Although it is perfectly normal to soak the clams for an hour or so to help them purge the sand they were sucking in from the ocean floor, they should not be soaking in water for any longer than that as clams are not used to living in fresh water.
The best way to store your clams is in a bowl with a damp paper towel placed over it so that it doesn’t lose too much moisture (see picture below on the left). This will keep your clams good for 2-3 days.
Ok – enough about storing clams. Let’s talk about how to make the miso clam soup.
Now that you have the clams, you need to have miso paste to make the miso soup base. We like to use a combination of red (Aka) and white (Shiro) miso paste. You can typically buy this at Asian grocery stores – we bought ours at a Japanese grocery store. The ratio of red to white miso paste you use is personal preference – we like to do 2:1 of red to white miso paste. We also like to add a bit of Sansho pepper (Japanese pepper) to our miso soup prior to serving as it adds a hint of citrusy flavour. We’re not sure if they sell Sansho pepper here in Canada but we got ours when we were in Japan. However, this is completely optional.
Now that you have all your ingredients, you just need your dashi stock. Bring your dashi stock to a boil. Scoop a ladle of the hot dashi stock into a large bowl and add in your miso paste, whisking vigorously until the paste has completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Add in your clams and diced tofu and simmer until the clams open up. Then, you can add the miso mixture back into the rest of the dashi stock. Serve with optional Sansho pepper.