Friday, January 3, 2014

Crab Broth with Ginger and Miso

It all started with this picture from my new Masterchef cookbook.

Never having handled a Dungeness crab, I was curious. I was also assembling a menu for New Year's Eve dinner that was quickly approaching. The other half requested his favorite Filet Oscar style- steak covered in a mountain of King Crab. The plan was to take the crab meat out of the shells, leaving a pile of leftover shells. I hate wasting parts of an animal that could otherwise be used. Thus, a crab broth was the solution and the soup's origin.

After researching recipes for a miso soup with a crab stock base, I couldn't seem to find what I was looking for. I decided to just go with it, using the flavors in mind- ginger and miso, balanced with sweet crab and soy sauce, a bit of Mirin and green onion.

Starting with a traditional crab stock, the usual characters of lemon and parsley. Replacing white wine with Sake (YUM) ::the opportunity to drink some hot sake as you go along, of course:: A method to the madness! Then adding layered flavors... taste testing as I went along, adding flavors to find a balance of sweet, salty, tart, etc. When it was all said and done, it was good but needed a bit of sweetness. Mirin was the perfect balance in the end.

Start the stock the day before you plan to serve the soup. I found the broth developed more flavor by refrigerating overnight, and serving piping hot the next day.

The recipe for that which I could not find elsewhere- tofu, miso, crab, shiitake mushrooms, enoki, and bok choy all balanced in a crab ginger broth:

Miso Crab Soup
Serves 6

2 lbs King Crab, shells only
1 – 1 lb Dungeness Crab, meat and shells separated
1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
½ - 1 Cup Celery Hearts (the leaves and inner stalk inside the celery)
1 lemon, halved
5-6 allspice, whole
6 whole peppercorns
3 Bay Leaves
4 Tbsp Shallot
One Bunch of Parsley, Just Stems
1 Cup Sake (Geikkan)
½ Cup Soy Sauce
10 Cups Water
4 Shiitake Mushrooms
Enoki Mushroom Stems (tops reserved for garnish)

½ Cup Medium Firm Tofu, diced
Reserved Dungenous Crab meat
¼ cup white or yellow miso paste
5 Tbsp Mirin
6 Baby Bok Choy
3 Shiitake Mushrooms
1 package Enoki (Seafood) Mushrooms
4 Green Onion sprigs, chopped


Remove the crab meat from 2 pounds of King Crab, reserve crab for Steak Oscar, crab cocktail, sushi, etc. Don’t rinse the King Crab shells before putting in the pot, the little bits are tasty.

Clean and remove meat from a one pound Dungenesss crab. Reserve meat for the soup, and use rinsed shells for stock.

Guide to dissembling the Dungeness Crab for soup

In a large stockpot, add grapeseed oil, celery and crab shells. Sauté shells on medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. 

Squeeze the lemon juice over shells and drop the halves into the pot. Add 5 pieces of whole allspice, whole peppercorns, and bay leaves. Sauté everything another 5 to 10 minutes; regulate the temperature so as not to burn but to get a good fragrance going.

Warm up a couple shots of sake. Drink.

Deglaze pan with one cup of sake. Let that simmer down for 10 minutes. Add 10 cups of water, parsley stems, 4 tablespoons of sliced shallots and a 2 tablespoon-sized chunk of ginger, or about half the size of your thumb; cover and let simmer for an hour and a half.

Cool broth in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight.


A couple of hours before serving, reheat stock on the stove to simmering.
Clean 4 shiitake mushrooms, and quarter them; add to stock.

While simmering for about an hour, prep the garnishes.

Remove the outer leaves from the baby bok choy, trim stem and leave the base in tact to serve whole.

Remove stems from three shiitake mushrooms; throw the stems in to stock. Clean and slice tops into thin strips for garnish.

Trim the mushroom tops from the enoki mushrooms and clean, reserve for serving. Add the stems to the stock. 

Slice green onion. Set aside for garnish.

Dice 1/3 package of medium firm tofu into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Strain stock through fine sieve or cheese cloth. I have heard that coffee filters will also work, but have not tried it, yet. It sounds like a great option for the hone chef, let me know if you have insight.

Put clear broth back on stove, simmer. Once simmering, add bok choy to broth for 5 minutes, until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop and drain the bok choy, set them aside for serving. 

Add miso paste and mirin to broth. Add diced tofu and half of green onion. Give it 5 or 10 minutes to warm tofu through and gently scent the broth with green onion.

Prepare bowls with a few pieces of the reserved dungenous crab, one bok choy, a sprinkle of green onion, a few enoki tops, and a sprinkle of the sliced shiitake mushrooms. 

Cover with a ladle or two of broth and serve hot.

* You can also replace the crab meat in the soup with a very thin marinated slice of beef, make sure the broth is piping hot and cover the meat with broth, let this cook in the bowl before serving. A soy, Mirin, shallot marinade would pair well.

Kitchen Tip: Find exotic ingredients at specialty stores, online or your local international market, when available.

Until next time...Happy Cooking!!! AND a Happy New Year, too!


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