There is nothing to this soup. Seriously. Literally. Ridiculously. (Well, no, not ‘ridiculously,’ but since I was going with the flow of overused (and misused) adverbs, I figured I’d throw it in as well.) It’s a one-pot, one-step, 30-minute deal, that makes soup so savory and delicious, you end up wishing you’d doubled the recipe after the first spoonful.
Nothing to this soup, that is, once you have shiitake mushrooms. Which I DO, now that my favorite vegetable grower on my favorite market in Saint-Malo now grows them! For a country that loves its mushrooms (truffles, bolets, chanterelles, heck, even button mushrooms are venerated as champignons de Paris here), France has been slow on the uptake with shiitakes, if you ask me. And even as I was buying a big bag of them, I was being told that supplies wouldn’t last, that this was just ‘an experiment…’ (So I asked the woman waiting on me to weigh out another pound, which I dried to have on hand till the next ‘experiment’ rolls around.)
But back to the soup. Due to how rare it is to find them around Cancale, I wanted to make something with them that was the essence of shiitakes. Something that would showcase their sublimely smoky, meaty, shiitake-ness.
Which led me to this soup. I suppose you could say it’s ‘Japanese-inspired,’ which is true, but I don’t want to offend any purists or Japanese cuisine experts by going any further. No, it’s really just what I was craving – a mushroom soup without the cream
I still can’t get over how good it turned out and I’m already planning to try it with my dried shiitakes once my fresh stash runs out. And then I may just have to make it with some champignons de Paris to see how that turns out, too.
Brothy Shiitake Soup with Ginger and Garlic
4 cups (5 oz./150 g. thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/4 ((40 g.) cup finely minced onion
1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sake, mirin, Chinese rice wine, or sherry
4 cups (1 quart/1 liter) mushroom broth, vegetable broth, or chicken broth
chopped scallions, for garnish
toasted sesame oil, for garnish
COMBINE all the ingredients except the scallions and sesame oil in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, and serve garnished with scallions and sesame oil, if desired.